Springsteen was insisting baby, we were born to run when I pulled into the parking area. As I grabbed my daypack and plunged into the woods, I thought not today, Bruuuuuce. But he got me to considering different hiking styles.
When I was a teenager and young adult, I did hit the trail at speed, baby. I was eager, angry, or angsty and needed to move fast until the eagerness/anger/angst dissipated and I could finally slow down for much-needed communion in the woods.
And over the years I've been on many companionable hikes with one or more friends, during which we stop to admire this overlook or that elder tree. Such trips are often about conversation and friendship, with a fabulous backdrop.
These days, most of my hikes are solitary and most are about paying attention. Because I'm on my own, I can stop to watch a little stream, even when nothing in particular is happening in it. I can pet inviting mounds of moss or flip up fern fronds without having to explain myself. And when the spirit moves, I remember to repeat the Navajo prayer. Contemplative hiking, I suppose you could call this.
What's your hiking style?