When someone says the word hiking, you probably visualize a trail in the woods with a few rocks to tackle and the possible sighting of some wildlife. I have been on those trails, and happy to say I conquered the obstacles with minimal injuries. However, as my knees get a little older, I have chosen to saunter more than I hike. Now, I understand the importance of hiking has nothing to do with conquering a task, but recognizing a blessing.
I am very fortunate to live adjacent to a walking trail. Every morning, I see cyclist going to work or a team practicing for a charity ride. They are always very courteous to us walkers, stating ‘on your left’ or ‘good morning…have you seen any bears?’
When I walk, I never wear headphones; walking trails have free music. In the morning, I hear baby birds requesting a meal, chipmunks scattering in the leaves, roosters announcing a new day, and dogs panting in excitement to be walking with their owners & sniffing the trails of the night animals who invaded their territory. The sights along the path allow me to daydream about what was, and what will be. An old, abandoned church with a history going back to WWII and the days of segregation. A tobacco field that once employed Martin Luther King Jr.
It really doesn’t matter where you choose to hike, walk or saunter. The thoughts contemplated, blessings recognized and inspirations rejuvenated should be the purpose.
‘I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least sauntering through the woods, and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.’ Thoreau