Hike and seeker.
Hike and seeker, is a site for linking ideas and thoughts while on the trail. I hope to provide a platform that while not age specific, will possibly link a more mature agenda to the content. I should add that just because it leans towards a more mature hiker. It doesn’t mean that we mature hikers can’t be told to “get our heads out of the sand” and look at things in a different way. My only fixed point is, I’m nearer to the end of my life than the beginning.
I have been seeking ‘something’ for as long as I can remember. It started in my teenage years, and has been my constant companion ever since. A knee injury a couple of years ago, changed my life in so many ways. I had over a year to reflect on my feelings as life became a very long weekend for me. My recovery process started with a rehabilitation program so that I could walk properly again. Part of the program was physiotherapy, starting with walking short distances, then building to longer walks over time. The rehabilitation program included visits with a phycologist as my mental health was not progressing as well as my physical health. There were lots of “why me” moments that those close to me were having to deal with as well.
The seeking part of my life was becoming more exposed now. As I grappled with thoughts of retirement and how that might work financially. Hide and Seek is a game we have all played at some stage of our lives. It seemed to be a metaphor for how I viewed my life. Hide, was something I had always been doing. Hiding my feelings, emotions, abilities and how I truly wanted to interact with the world around me. I was wrestling with all these feelings, trying to seek a way forward to firmer ground. A lack of confidence was locking my emotions in, and without these being released, the seeking was becoming harder to achieve. I started walking around the park. Then on rougher and more undulating ground, to test my knee. This is where my journey really begins.
I started to become aware of a gradual change in my thoughts, as I walked in the forest and tracks around my home town. Looking for solitude, with my hikes getting longer, seeking that solitude. Everything started taking on a new meaning, with one thing leading to the next. Which started me thinking about my physical health apart from my knee. I wondered what a hiker might wear, what to eat for energy, how much water should I drink.? Could I extend these hikes with a tent.?
The terminology behind what you would imagine is a simple concept, started to mean more. Layering your clothing, goose down or duck down, hiking boots or shoes. The list of new words were endless at this stage, as I was being drawn into this new world of possibilities. Of course, as with any leisure pursuit that regular people can attempt, business possibilities were endless and accordingly, confusion started to be a part of that.
People have been putting one foot in front of the other for as long as anyone can remember. Then the benefit was simply to get to a destination, with hardly a conscious awareness of the activity of walking, as a form of exercise. In our multi-layered and complex world, where we are bombarded with choice. Nothing has fundamentally changed we still walk, but it’s different now. Our thoughts have also become more complex. But once we’re on the trail, for an extended period of time, it changes again. The mental baggage we carry, seems to fall away and again we are just putting one foot in front of the other.
The thoughts we do have seem to be more in the moment. This has become part of being a hike and seeker enjoying this feeling. Now that I have become aware of these changes in myself. I plan to extend my hiking onto tougher trails, with more solitude and with more time to think. My first venture was in April 2016, when I went to Scotland to hike ‘The West Highland Way’ camping out each night. My next hike this year, will be the ‘Cape to Cape’ close to my home town here in Western Australia.
I don’t think that age should have any effect on our abilities or our dreams. We do need to take better care of our health. Not that we can’t perform as well as younger hikers, it just takes a bit more effort to arrive at the same destination. As I go into my retirement years, I hope to prove all these things to myself. I’m working hard to keep myself fit and healthy. Exercising, and trying to eat the right foods. I’m passionate about an activity for the first time in my life, I have arrived late on the trail, but not too late. “Better late than never” springs to mind.
If you are starting your hiking experience late in life, I would love to hear your story. How you got started and what, if anything you are seeking. I’m making an observation, that most hikers are predominately younger. Younger than me anyway, but I don’t believe this is a reason to not be a Hike and Seeker.