Why do I like to hike so much? This one really underlined it for me. Not because you can burn so many calories, try and shorten your time, hike something steep and challenging at a trot, start to learn to trail run, start to extend the time you are running.
Although those are pretty compelling reasons. Not even because I am getting my exercise outside, feeling the sun on my skin, feeling the dirt on my ankles, spotting one BRIGHT red Indian Paintbrush in a field of Monkshood.
Because it makes me take time to connect. With myself, with whoever I am hiking with. Liat and I and Virginia and I spend an enormous amount of time together, all alone, with no distractions. Our hikes are like mini therapy sessions, and usually they are over two hours long, so there is silence, and thought, and truth, and exploration.
During a recent hike, Liat and I were examining my relationship with food, and the difficulties I have been experiencing lately, and we decided that the best idea is for me to get counseling from someone who specializes in eating disorders. This never EVER would have occurred to me if we hadn't been chatting, then thinking, then analyzing what's making me fail, what's keeping me from my goal, what's recurring difficult and frustrating.
Thanks to the fact that I have a strong support system (thanks, guys!)and good, deep trust, brought on in part by hiking 35-50 miles a week with a good friend, we identified a problem that never would have been exposed.
Now, of course, we also talk about how stupid Paris Hilton is, how addicted we are to her champion, Perez Hilton, how lame boys are, how crazy kids are, the movies we've seen, the books we've read, our childhood scars and dreams...and more.
On the flip side of that, we do walking meditation a lot, (which I do almost constantly while I hike alone). This is a great experience, and one I'll post about shortly!