Why go hiking?
By: Ben Corr
In a World in which
so many struggle to find purpose amidst the complexity of modern life, long distance
hiking offers an escape to a simpler existence - one
in which the goals are challenging, yet clearly defined, the obstacles numerous,
but always surmountable through individual effort, and one's worries few and
tractable. It is an existence that is at once both wholly contrived and
The goals are arbitrary - set by none other than the individual himself - and
that same individual is largely free from pressure to conform to prescribed
right and wrong as to how he sets about achieving these. In this simplified existence,
progress and wellbeing can be defined by a few simple variables - these alone
giving a measure of the quality of one's actions. It is an environment in which
the effects of one's moral code are clear to see.
The ideas and values held for a lifetime are thrown into stark relief by the
experience, and are replaced, discarded, reaffirmed or added to as the journey
progresses. More often than not the validity of these adjustments holds true
when we return to our 'normal' lives. The person who achieves his goals and does so
in a manner true to his own innate sense of 'right' can only return a stronger and
more self-reliant individual.