By Diane Rudholm
Photo at right: The author soaking up the greenery on the northeast side of Mount Rainier. Photo by Leyland Rudholm
Dear readers, I want to know more about you! Here’s what I’m wondering: What is it about hiking that you like so much?
You do know that there are wild animals out there, right? There are bears, marmots, gray jays, seagulls, starfish and (gasp!) mosquitoes—all looking for a feast. Unpredictable storms, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions or hailstones the size of bowling balls could be looming. And, what about Sasquatch? That’s one guy you don’t want to mess with.
Well, sure, there is all of that great unknown to contend with. But, maybe—just maybe—the views make it worth it: craggy mountaintops, whimsical butterflies and wildflowers, stone-dappled beaches and shimmering cascades.
Or, you love to hike because the vistas sing and the sunsets dance. Or, maybe you are not a fan of any of that froofy natural beauty stuff—it’s for the birds!
Tough as fruit leather
Maybe you hike because it’s a challenge. You are one tough adventurer. The toughest. You revel in mud, grime and moose drool (isn’t nature just covered in moose drool?). You are a hardcore through-hiker composed of pure grit and unshakeable mettle. You could survive a year in the great unknown with just a pile of rocks and a paperclip. Once, you ate a whole ant colony just to show your friends that you could do it.
Or, maybe you’re the weekend warrior type. You like to get away from the 9-to-5, away from conference calls and Power Point presentations for a little agenda-less freedom from corporate synergies. You like the exercise and practical benefits of your trek, too. You like the rest and restoration between grueling deadlines. Plus, hiking provides a nice excuse to buy gear. Mm, gear.
Crunch, crunch, crunch
Oh, I’ve got it. You’re one of them tree huggers, aren’t ya? You like to hear the sound of rain pattering against your hemp rain jacket, the gentle crunch of granola, and of the earth beneath your feet. You love to forage dandelions for salads and nettles for tea, and you can spot a patch of morels from a mile away.
All of the above
Am I warm yet? Maybe it would help if I told you what I like best about hiking. I like to hike for all of the reasons above to some degree. I have not dined on an ant colony per se, but I do appreciate how the simplest foods taste great after a long hike. I love how hiking soothes my spirit in hard times, challenges my mind and body, and reconnects me with the earth. I love how hiking brings people together. Some of the best conversations I have had have been on trails; some of my best silences have been out there, too.
Whatever your reasons are for hiking this season, happy adventuring!
Tell us why you love to hike (photos welcomed) <click here> or @OutdoorsNWmag
Diane Rudholm is the managing editor and social media manager of OutdoorsNW. She loves hiking with her friends and family and is looking forward to August huckleberries.