Yes, I really like hiking. Love it, actually. There is no other activity that does so much for me, or gives me as much.
Hiking is great for me physically. Traipsing along trails, up hills and over little creeks is good exercise. Works the muscles and burns the calories. And that’s good.
Hiking is great for me spiritually. I’m getting all that exercise while enjoying the wonders of nature. And within just a few minutes of starting a hike, I’m already moving into a mind-clearing, peace-inducing zen-like mental state.
Hiking is great for me mentally. That zen-like state triggers a stream-of-consciousness flow of thoughts that proves super-valuable every time. With new ideas for blog topics. With refinements to my money management or my investing approaches. With possibilities for new places to travel. And out-of-the-blue revelations — such as my most recent one that uncovered a “hidden desire” for stargazing and astronomy.
(All of which is, by the way, why I always carry on my hikes a pen and index card in my shirt pocket. Getting all that stuff written down keeps it from slipping back down my mental well.)
Hiking is also great for me experientially. Most weeks, I do my hiking along nature trails in county, state and national parks. But once a month I’ll travel to a civil war battlefield park to do some heavy-duty historical hiking.
Those hikes are different. Instead of going into a zen-like trance, I go on a mentally focused time travel trip. With a clipboard holding battle maps and a mind holding a recently read detailed account of the engagement, I walk on the very paths along which infantry battle formations advanced. I crouch behind the remains of parapets where the defenders awaited those advancing formations. I stand on the exact high ground from which battle commanders viewed the field and issued their orders. And I imagine being there. What it looked like… sounded like… felt like. And I marvel at the courage and discipline of those soldiers, and at the clearheaded brilliance — or blind stupidity — of their leaders.
Yes, hiking. What a great thing to be able to do. And how wonderful to be master of my time so that I can do it whenever good weather beckons and the hiking spirit moves me.
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image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net