Why Do You Hike?

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Getting down to the roots of a thing

Why do I love to hike? I get this question a fair amount—sometimes in the form of “Are you crazy?” That usually happens when I sleep on the ground by the fire in the snow or when I stay for three days in a downpour and don’t go home. But the kind of hiking my Honey and I do draws out a more gentle version of that question. Here is part of the answer:

1. At the base of what my Honey and I do is a heritage of loving the outdoors. My Dad loved nature. We took long drives just to look at the mountains and then at night we would stand silently for long periods of time in the edge of a meadow waiting for the whippoorwill to call and echo.

2. Scripture—Dad would quote Psalm 121 verses 1 & 2 from the Bible: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” There is a renewal we experience when we go get in the hills and look at the beauty—God visits us there.

3. My love of Davy Crockett—King of the Wild Frontier and his coonskin hat, a bowie knife in a leather sheath and my childhood hero.

4. My love of Daniel Boone—leather clothes and a long rifle shot well…another childhood hero.

5. Wandering off by myself to follow a rabbit trail in the snow when I was 11 hoping for a shot with my BB gun. Finding that a Fox had beaten me to it—seeing a large circle of messed up snow with furry remains every where.

6. Being in the mountains of West Virginia and walking to my Aunt’s house through the woods. Getting to hear the sound of the wind in the pines and the rush of water in the brook I was following. The peace I felt there.

7. The book My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George about the boy named Sam that leaves New York City and lives in the Cat Skills on his own for a year.

These are some of the things that shaped my thoughts and cause me now almost daily to hear the call of the mountains. These influencers are powerful but I really believe it is just hard wired in me. Hiking wasn’t really part of my family culture growing up. Dad loved nature but not hiking… but yet I loved it and was shaped by those who loved it.

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A healed and happy life!

Getting an idea of why you are who you are is useful but is not always critical to me. I like to understand it but it’s not a consuming desire. I’m happy in my own boots and my Honey is happy beside me in her boots…so I can look back and see the thread through my life and I am thankful.

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If something is broken, I encourage you to look for the contributing things and pursue the solution. I went once a week for a year to a Christian counselor when I was truly broken, angry and suicidal. The truth of how much God really loves me changed me.

If things are working, I encourage you to look for the cause so you can be thankful for it. Then spread the good news about what works.