New Year, New Goal: 100 Hikes!

Distance changes utterly when you take the world on foot…life takes on a neat simplicity, too. Time ceases to have any meaning. It’s quite wonderful, really. All that is required within you is a willingness to trudge.

Bill Bryson, A Walk In The Woods

 

Last year I ended up doing about 80 hikes total.

80!

At the start of 2019 I was really going through it. Like pull-out-my-hair-and-binge-watch-Buffy-in-bed-all-day going through it, and desperately needed something *slightly* healthier to help get my brain back into balance.

Enter hiking.

The solitude and adventure that the outdoors brings was exactly what I needed to both ground me and demolish my comfort zone. I escaped into forests, mountains, beaches, deserts nearly every weekend, took week-long solo trips where I’d push myself and my dog Charlie to our mental and physical limits. My confidence soared as I navigated through new environments, each with their own set of challenges.

Many of those 80 hikes were done with just Charlie by my side, which meant I was often alone out in the middle of nowhere, sometimes cold and lonely, sometimes joyful beyond belief, but always brimming with childish excitement for whatever came next. No matter the weather, the bugs, lack of sleep, or my mental state, we got outside. As my health improved and anxiety all but vanished, I began to realize the importance of what I was doing and fought with a fury for the time to slip away on those sacred adventures.

Every good trail pup knows that naps on your human are the most important part of any hike.

Since I managed to hit 80 hikes last year fueled by the simple desire to just be outside, I wondered what could happen if i actually make a concerted effort to hit 100 this year. To get out of my head and on to my feet—100 times in one calendar year—became my ultimate goal for 2020.

This of course got me researching new trails I could easily do in an afternoon as well as actual trips I could plan for a weekend or longer, but also got me thinking about what hiking actually is.

Is it something you just do to say you did it?

Something that demands tons of exhausting climbing just to prove you can?

Does there have to be scenic views or giant trees?

Does it have to be far away in some remote Deliverance-style wilderness to actually count as a hike? (…God let’s hope not)

 

There’s no rule that says hiking needs to mean slogging through miles of crazy rugged trails or scrambling up super steep mountainsides, busting your ass for no reason when the same benefits can still be gained from an easy stroll through a wooded park close to home.

I know people who obsessively count every single mile, step, and foot of elevation gained, but it makes me wonder if they are getting anything out of their time in nature other than a good workout. Which of course is fine if that’s what you’re after, but I also believe there’s much more to be discovered while you’re out there than just focusing on how many steps you took…

 

Like fungi with their gills and caps and spores and hairs…

…breathtaking geologic formations sculpted by rain, wind, salt, and time…

Carved by ocean.
Formed by lava; carved by creek.
Carved by wind and water. Painted Hills: Mounds of Fossilized Soils

Moments spent with scaly and shiny and furry friends

…and sunrises way up on cool mountaintops and down low in warm deserts.

Getting outside can be intimidating, especially in this culture where we have so drastically separated ourselves from the wild. But really, a simple walk is a hike, and no matter how near or far you travel I bet you’ll discover some pretty amazing wild things along the trail, whether it be through vast wilderness or the park down the street.

Can hiking come with burritos always please?

For us, hiking means getting outside for a good long walk wherever and whenever we can. No worries about steps, miles, or elevation. Just enjoying being outside, discovering amazing things.

So here’s to 100 hikes,

Wherever, whenever

and to learning more about our world with each step.

(Not that I’m counting).

 

Jenn.

2 thoughts on “New Year, New Goal: 100 Hikes!”

  1. Pingback: Urban Hiking: An Unexpected Journey | Jenn Joslin

  2. Pingback: 100 Hikes: #1-33. Hiking Through A Pandemic. | Jenn Joslin

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