Requested by Kate

My Favorite Things About Hiking

Needing the proverbial inspiration for Listing (shoutout to @ka.te), here's what I do to unwind.
  1. Some of my friends don't understand why I load up a backpack with 35 lbs of gear and hike for days through all kinds of weather. Being in the woods or hanging out on a high point, looking down on the world where mostly birds might enjoy this view makes me feel like I can accomplish anything.
  2. Getting ready for a hiking trip energizes me. I have piles of stuff that are only the essentials. The Big 3: Tent, Sleeping Bag and Bacpack. I dehydrate meals and plan each day carefully. Also- Gotta have just the right snacks and the odd single serving box of wine No toting glass into the woods!
  3. After days of planning and packing, it's amazing to take those first steps away from civilization. I look forward to hearing the noise of traffic recede. The sound of nature envelopes me. I breathe easier.
  4. The smell of pine forests. Wild flowers. The air after its been washed by rain. I feel cleansed.
  5. The trail ahead is usually well marked ("blazed" in hiker terms) but often you don't need to look- since the trail is worn. On the AT, I always think about who has taken this route before me. I am humbled.
  6. As much as I enjoy leaving the world behind, meeting other hikers is interesting. Some people nod hello and we say a few words in passing. Others we stop and share conversation about our adventures, or where a water source is, or how far to the next road, etc.
  7. Finding a great camping spot is all important. We look for water sources nearby. Occasionally the site might be a late decision in the day. We try and camp at an established site so we don't impact the area with our presence. If we have to make a site, I love leaving our spot looking like no one was there. The right thing to do.
  8. Spying a shelter on the Appalachian Trail. The anticipation has been building for miles. Sometimes we stay and sometimes we don't. Filling up on water is usually a priority. Shelters are where we might enjoy lunch on a picnic table and visit the nearby privy. I always feel like I am in a special haven that only hikers enjoy.
  9. Being part of the hiking community makes me lighthearted. Back in the non-hiking world there's a feeling of aloneness amongst the millions. People rushing to destinations unknown, not making much eye contact with each other. Trash is glaringly obvious. We clean up the trail while we hike.
  10. Being out there and not being conscious about how crazy my hair gets or how sweaty and dirty I might be. Sometimes we pass day hikers and it's so obvious they are wearing perfume or aftershave. Sometimes my nose is so tuned in I can smell the detergent in their clothes.
  11. Getting back home and having a hot shower.