I used to hate hiking. Perhaps it was too grueling for someone out of shape. Perhaps I didn’t like always being left behind because I walked slowly. Perhaps it was because a “hike” meant an arduous vertical ascent for two thousand feet, collapsing at the top with water that tastes like plastic and a squashed sandwich somewhat reminiscent of ham and cheese (though tasting like a gourmet meal to my starving stomach), enjoying the lofty view for a short time, then racing down the mountain (trying to not kill myself on the scree) before the ominous thunderstorms hit.
Then I started bringing my camera with me. I still got left behind (probably even more so), but I didn’t mind so much. I could blame it on something having caught my attention. And the 360 view was all the more rewarding when I could show it off later as a 4×6 badge of honor.
Then I moved to Oregon, and hikes became more explorations than chores. Where does that little path go? I want to scramble on top of those rocks and see the view! Give me a minute; I see a waterfall – a flower – a fascinating bug.
Now, hiking is so much more than a simple destination; it’s the journey.. and the myriad discoveries along the way. And with a group of equally slow photographers, I’m no longer last on the trail.
Now that I’ve found a purpose behind my hikes, I crave them. And fortunately, hiking season is upon us!