Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hiking to Conquer?

This is flowing from my fingertips without much forethought, so excuse me if it comes off, well....bitchy.

I love living where I do because there are so many people that are into the outdoors around me at all times.  Whether they are mountaineers or hippies, they all have this glow from being outside around them.  Recently, though, I've begun to notice something in a few of these strangers and in a friend.

How valid is the act of going for a hike when the motive behind it is just to see how far you can go in a day, or how high you can climb, or how sore you can make yourself the next day?  Is that really "hiking"?

Okay, Webster...let's have a look-see:
"1. To go on a hike
  2. To Travel by any means"

Alright. Not helpful.  By those standards I could say that I hiked from my living room into the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal.

Basically, I'm trying to differentiate the difference between going on a hike to say that you went on a hike and going on a hike as a means of discovering and fostering an appreciation for the area around you.

This friend, as far as I can tell, has gone from doing the latter (hiking for a love of a nature) to the former (hiking to say "I hiked Baldy, I hiked the Ridge, I hiked 30 miles", etc).  Not that I think the hiking as an accomplishment is entirely wrong, but I do think that you lose something from the hike when you do that.

So, for anyone in this crazy Internet-ed world that might be reading this, what do you think?  Am I valid in thinking that there is a difference between the two and that you lose some of the sacred aspect of hiking when you take it from purely meditative to focused mostly on exercise?