Hiking the Riverbank

Hiking the riverbank on a snowy morning.

In less than two weeks it will be Spring. Spring is the season of renewal. It is the season of planting and of hope for the coming harvest. It is a time of new beginnings, a time to plant seeds in the ground. With these pleasant thoughts, I begin to imagine the smells of plants in the new ground and many aromas that these plants give us.

Suddenly my thoughts are shifted to the large snowflakes that are falling before me.  As I walk into a light wind, the snowflakes seem to be getting bigger. A few short moments ago, the ground was bare and dry. The snowflakes are large, like dollar coins, lazily floating down to the ground. If this keeps up the ground will soon be covered.

In the distance, I see my dog more enthused by the falling snow than I am. His nose to the ground, this appears to be a new challenge for him. Taking it all in stride he continues on his merry way. I can barely see him in the distance now as the snowfall is intensifying.

I am quickly forgetting my thoughts of Spring, after all, it is still winter. This sudden shift in weather can often be the metaphor for our lives. These days, I waver from calling it hiking to sometimes calling it walking. Hiking is known by many different names throughout the English-speaking world.

In Canada and the United States, hiking refers to a long, vigorous walk on or off trails in the countryside or anywhere in the great outdoors. In the United Kingdom, rambling, hill walking, and fell walking are well-known terms. In Australia, bushwalking is the way to go. In New Zealand, tramping is the term used to describe a long, vigorous walk or hike.

Whatever you wish to call it, there is no doubt that hiking and walking are literally exploding in popularity. Our parks are crowded with walkers, our city streets are even more crowded and hiking clubs are growing in numbers as well. Walking is undoubtedly the easiest form of exercise for anyone to participate in. In addition to the physical benefits of cardio exercise, walking and hiking are also very beneficial to emotional and spiritual well-being.

If you walk in the city or walk around your neighborhood, you have discovered a fantastic way to interact with people and Nature. Away from the city, Nature offers you endless possibilities to explore, learn and exercise. The level of intensity you choose is up to you.

As you venture into the city or in Nature, it is always nice to be prepared. Here is a list of some items that will make your next adventure safer and more enjoyable. Always bring a comfortable backpack to carry a few items that make your day more pleasant. Water for drinking, a few snacks for energy, a knife, a fire starter, a map and compass, your cell phone fully charged … and don’t forget to tell someone – where you are going and when you will return!

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about Hiking or Walking in Nature or in the city please do not hesitate to include them in the space below.

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