Hiking Zen: How Putting Foot to Earth Makes Life Better

aanThe soft crunch of dirt under your well-worn pair of hik­ing boots, orangey rays of sun­light on your face and shoul­ders, as you make your way through a thick canopy of green­ery. For hik­ers, this is their image of bliss. Putting foot to earth is not only a retreat for them, but it’s also a way of life. They social­ize with oth­er hik­ers. Plan week­end adven­tures and, often, skip the gym for a steep and scenic trail. But what’s so great about this seem­ing­ly hip­pie pas­time? I mean, it’s just walk­ing uphill, right?

Wrong. Hik­ing makes life bet­ter. Peri­od. And here’s why:

The Art of Au Naturale
Now don’t go get­ting too excit­ed. We’re not talk­ing about naked hik­ing here, though that would be inter­est­ing. There is an art to hik­ing; one that asks the par­tic­i­pant to prover­bial­ly strip them­selves naked as they move about the land. Most hik­ers car­ry very few mate­r­i­al pos­ses­sions on the trails and often emp­ty their hearts and minds of bur­dens as they amble. This nat­ur­al take on well-being, devoid of work­out machines, yoga mats, or self-help audio­books, is a stripped bare approach that can lead to a sound mind and an even sounder (yep, that’s gram­mat­i­cal­ly cor­rect) body.

zthCom­mu­ni­ty Amongst the Trees (Robin Hood/Sherwood For­est Style)
Hik­ers may seem like a lone­ly breed but they are, in fact, quite the con­trary. Most hik­ers have an eccen­tric and tight-knit group of hik­ing friends who share the trails with them. Whether they are vent­ing about their work-week, lament­ing a stress­ful rela­tion­ship, or just shar­ing their lat­est joys, hik­ers hit the trails to gos­sip and build com­mu­ni­ty with their band of mer­ry friends.

Earth Child
In a syn­thet­ic world full of iPhones, lap­tops, sky­scrap­ers, and jeg­gings (yeah, jeans that are also leggings…they exist), hik­ing is an escape from the mad­ness of moder­ni­ty. Many hik­ers hit the trails to recon­nect with the earth and renew their appre­ci­a­tion for nature. Most hik­ers are also Eco-activists, prac­tic­ing Leave No Trace and vol­un­teer­ing for trail restorations.

So, if you’ve found your­self zen-less late­ly, hit a trail, bring a friend, and expe­ri­ence the deep peace that can be found when you put foot to earth.