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7 April

What is Hiking?

In plain terms, I think of Hiking as a simple walk in a trail for recreational purposes and being on a hiking trail makes me happy. For me, the best way to describe hiking is: “In Hiking, how the Journey is done is more important than how to reach the Destination, therefore, there is no deadline or goal to make a complete hiking”. Also, hiking could be average daily walk through the park, lakeshore, beach etc. or it could be a three-week to few months long expedition through the Great Himalayan Trail as well as a 3500km long walk in the Appalachian mountains in the east of America all the way from Georgia to New Hampshire.

There are many words often used for Hiking depending on the Hiking conditions, hike length or distance and terrain such as Trekking, Backpacking, Bushwalking, Trailing and Mountaineering. I must say that in their most basic forms, all these activities mentioned above in different terms all comes down to "walking". In my opinion, If you are able to put one foot in front of the other then you are able to walk and hike. Even someone in a wheel chair can go for a hike if the trail is friendly and allows for it.

At a more advanced level, I think Hiking could be seen as a starting point for learning Survival Skills, Camping, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Navigation Skills, and a variation of other outdoor techniques. A well-rounded and experienced hiker is an outdoor expert with the physical fitness level, knowledge, and mindset needed to deal with various natural(terrain, weather etc) as well as manmade challenges while in the hiking trail.

When I hike, I think mostly think of nature, the great outdoors, a backpack, and a tent. Just like most of the people, for me, hiking is an escape back to nature and a great way to get a good workout while forgetting all about the day to day hassles of city life. Depending on the terrains and weather conditions, I also thing that hiking demands certain specific skills, techniques, Gear and Equipment. Before I go for a hike I needs to get intrigued and prepare well.

When it comes to hiking in Nepal, and from my own experience, some of the most stunning landscapes in the planets are within our own embrace. It's like I embrace the nature and nature embraces me and there is no string attached. Nepal has a the most diverse variation of altitude from lowest of 70 meters above sea level in Eastern Jhapa district and the highest of 8848 m on top of Everest in Solukhumbu district. And the areas from the lowest point to the highest point is home to various diverse ethnic groups of people and culture, many unique animals, varieties of plants and trees, strange geography and manmade wonders such as temple and monasteries. On the trail, I can interact with nature and people in pollution free environment and a personal touch to the nature. This is where I can be myself without worrying about others.

I consider Hiking as a natural exercise that promotes physical fitness, is economical and convenient, and requires no special equipment in most cases. Because I can walk as far as I want and come to a complete stop if I get tired or want to change the course if I feel for it. There is no physical stress unless I walk in steep hills or mountains. Many people associate "hiking" as an adventure but is it really derived from the word “adventure”? "Certainly not" In my opinion but these two words combined give a realistic meaning of fun and joy someone could possibly get out of their busy and stressful modern life.

Whenever I feel stressed, I choose hiking over a doctor or medicine and trust me, I feel relieved really quick without being treated or diagnosed. Not only do I hike to be happy and fit, but also I feel close to nature and meditated without paying any fees. I feel true sense of freedom while Hiking. I encourage my family and friends and the people of our great nation to take advantage of Hiking in Nepal since it does not us anything, whereas so many tourists all over the world come and pay lots of money just to get glimpse of the nature that belongs to us and can enjoy for free.