7 Reasons Your Next Trip Should Be a Hiking Destination

Escape (or return) to the real world.

Katie Martin


Photo by Jaime Reimer from Pexels

In her book, Wild, Cheryl Strayed recounts her experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail after the loss of her mother and the breakup of her marriage. Originally, she set out on the trail with the daily intention to “weep tears of cathartic sorrow and restorative joy” and imagined “endless meditations on sunsets or while staring out across pristine mountain lakes.”

And yet, as Strayed goes on to tell, that didn’t really happen. You think hiking is going to be one thing, but then it surprises you. Her solo hike of 1,000 miles over three months was a far deeper experience than meditative bliss. As she tells it:

“It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles with no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental.”

There is, of course, a wide range of hiking. While Strayed’s journey was extreme, day hikes are far more common — especially for beginners. And even still, a simple day hike will allow you the space to simply exist.

While you will surely find your own reasons for hiking, here are 7 reasons I think your next trip should involve dirt, sky, and sweat.

1. Conversation

Instead of continually soaking in mountain views or other scenery, a majority of my time is actually spent carefully watching my footing (unless it’s a very manicured trail) and engaging in an ongoing conversation. It’s a kind of flow state if you will.

Out of all the trips you can take with family and friends, hiking is the best avenue for long conversations. What else are you going to do but walk and talk? Especially on longer hikes with fewer people, nothing will distract you as one topic gives way to another.

2. Disconnect From Digital

I spend much of my time in front of a computer for work, and hiking is a reprieve from functioning as a machine. Consider again the quote from Cheryl Strayed: “It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild.” Spending time…