Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What kind of hiker are you?

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?

8 comments:

  1. Peace through motion: hiking at speed, running, getting in the car and just driving, are all ways to soothe the inner gnawing things and burn off the excess adrenalin they produce.  How nice to be able to pull the teeth of the gnawing things by taking it more slowly and being aware of where we actually are.

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  2. Definitely the contemplative kind!

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  3. Love the idea that different motivations & styles of hiking all bring us to a more quiet place.  The power of the natural world!

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  4. I have always been in hiking mode since day one. When we were younger (and times were different) we would see how far from home we could get and still make it back in time for dinner. There were a lot of times we would be "late" for dinner. Even with the consequences we never quit walking as far as we go go. Unfortunately the scenic destinations are few and far between nowadays.  Even a short excursion to the store or the back woods has me checking nooks and crannies seldom looked at. The primary destination takes a back seat to the view every step brings. There is life all around us, it just needs to be appreciated.

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  5. My style is more the contemplative type too. Not having to chatter is like not having to explain, right? It feels like much more is happening when nothing in particular seems to be. The Navajo prayer has been one of my favorite for many years. Lovely photographs with it.

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  6. You pet the moss??!!! I do, too.  Now I do not feel so odd.  I like to go leisurely and see all of what is around me.  I usually have a camera, so I am very eager to find something to shoot.  I am definitely not out there for a quick jog or fast walk.  I stop to smell the roses, and the lilies, and the moss, and the lichen, and the air, and to pet the trees and mossy rocks, and.......you get the idea.

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  7. There's always a section when I'm like a freight train with its momentum built up, and I'm movin' and groovin', but mostly I'm slow but steady. Prayer is always a part of it, especially when I'm alone.

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  8. I'm more comfortable hiking on my own because I stop and look at every little thing.

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