The other day I told you all about FitCamp, which is fabulous exercise, but only my class only meets twice a week. I knew when I started that if I really wanted to get fit, I’d need to do more than that, so I started hiking with some friends.
This might not seem like a big deal, but I’ve avoided hiking like the plague in my adult life. The last hike I really remember was on a college orientation weekend and I spent the entire hike huffing and puffing the whole way up the mountain, while significantly trailing the rest of the group – and eventually slipping and falling in some mud and banging my knee. I was miserable. Thankfully, I survived the hike – and college – but that was the last of hiking for me for a very long time.
About a year ago, I made a new friend out here through Meetup and we ended up being good yoga buddies. She also introduced me to a group of women she had started hiking with, and before I knew it, I was joining them on my first hike. I remember driving up to the park the that morning and seeing the mountains looming in the fog in the distance. I was scared out of my mind, but I did it anyway. The hike was rather steep, but short, and I survived. I can’t really say I enjoyed it, but it felt great when I was done.
Over the next six months or so I would hike with the group sporadically, but it wasn’t until this Fall that I really started to get into a good hiking groove and actually enjoying it. How could this be? Do I really like hiking?
Here’s the thing – I’m not really sure how it happened, but my mind made an unconscious change. I went from viewing hiking as something that was supposed to be fun, like a party, to looking at it as exercise, like the gym. However, in terms of exercise, hiking is WAY more fun than the gym. Being able to chat with friends (when I’m not out of breath) is probably the best part for me, but there’s also something wonderful about spending time in nature and often the reward of an awesome view.
The more I hike, the more I like it. I’ve even got some bigger hikes planned for this year. I don’t know if it will ever be “fun like a party” for me, but I’ve definitely developed a greater appreciation for hitting the trails.