Copyright © 2016
By Ralph F. Couey
I’m entering my third year as a day hiker, and while nobody’s ever going to confuse me with Earl Shaffer or even Bill Bryson, I have learned a few things that might be of value to someone who is contemplating spending some time in the woods and on the trail. These are things an expert may neglect to tell you, mainly because their knowledge is vast and complex.
Hiking is many things. It’s great exercise, for sure. But it’s also a way to flee the urban jungle and reconnect with the wilderness. It is a fine way to challenge one’s self physically, mentally, and emotionally, learning the sometimes hard lesson about false limits.
Hikers form a broad, loosely defined community, nearly all of them wonderfully nice people who, when encountered on the trail, will treat you with warmth, friendliness, and dignity. The link all hikers share is the deep affection for what some feel is the vanishing wilderness, and the wonder of nature to be found therein.