Making Memories One Hike at a Time – Technique
Over the past few summers, I have found solace in picking up ice cream for minimum wage on the way out.
Sometimes it’s just walking my dog, sometimes it’s just running, but the most memorable moments are when I decide to hike.
Growing up in western North Carolina, I am always close to many hiking trails when I am at home. It also means my hometown friends are too, and I still see their posts about their adventures.
Picturesque sunsets over a gaping gorge, cloudless skies above a dizzying vantage point, photos of their destinations fill my timeline, but I never see any evidence of the hike itself.
When I think back to my favorite hikes from the past few years, the views never come to mind first.
I still remember the forest and the friends I brought along the way.
Planning for a hike is always destination-centric, whether it’s going to the top of a bare rock face or finding a secluded waterfall, but that squeezes the miles in between, where I have get the most out of every experience.
Sometimes the trees that surround the trail eclipse the last peak of a hike. I drove up to a trail several times and am greeted by a passing rain storm but continuing on I see a different kind of view in the woods.
I think rain is the best thing that can happen to a hike with poor eyesight, as it kind of magnifies the surrounding trees and makes you feel like you’re in an enchanted forest.
Maybe I couldn’t see the view I wanted, but the rain can create even more precious wonders in the woods.
Other times the hike is the feat of wonder itself. Not remembered a cold, steep nine mile hike I did a year ago for the views at the top of the mountain, but for the feeling of completion at the top. After climbing the mountain dry, I was delighted to finally stand on level ground and rest my legs.
The descent was triumphant and the many times I rolled my ankle on the descent couldn’t dampen the feeling of accomplishment of the hike.
Some hikes don’t add up to their face value, but completing them is the memorable part.
My friend and I hiked to a pair of waterfalls one afternoon, and it all went south halfway. We passed the first falls and decided to continue and stop at the second.
Before we could even get close, we got lost and narrowly avoided stepping on a brass head, and ominous clouds sent us running back to our cars.
The clouds opened up and threw a torrential downpour on us, hitting nearby trees and causing us to curl up on the ground.
Granted, the experience sounds and was horrible, but we survived, and that’s why I fondly remember it.
Everything that could have gone wrong has happened, and that is the purpose of the hike: to indulge nature’s will.
Maybe the hike feels spoiled in the rain or the trail is trying to sink you in, but there is still an inherent beauty that can always be found in the hike.
This is what some hiking posts on Instagram are missing, everything nature has to offer that isn’t perfect.
The view can be breathtaking from the top, but the trail itself is always illuminated with opportunities to create memories on a hike.
Embracing the journey itself can pay off much more than the destination of a hike, and I encourage any hiker to revel in the moments between and between nature and good company.