Back to Back Issues Page
Why hike?
March 21, 2013

March 2013: A Note From Diane

Hello Hiker!

The equinox has come and gone, which means that Spring is on its way to the Northern hemisphere (with Fall arriving way down South, to be balanced and equinox-like).

This should give you hope as a hiker!

Day lengths are increasing.

Weather is improving.

The irresistible urge to put some miles on your boots is stirring.

So in preparation for the upcoming spring-into-summer hiking season, let's get crystal clear on a few things.

Why Hike?

Chalk this up as another gift of middle age: insomnia.

Lying awake all wide eyed and bushy tailed around 1A this morning, I created a mental list of why I hike. It might spur you on to create your own personalized list!

I hike because....

...I never know what I'll see, hear, or meet on the trail.

...I am entitled to a big lunch, and an even bigger dinner.

...I feel vibrantly alive and happy on the trail.

...copious amounts of sweat cleans out my lymphatic system and keeps my immunity high.

...copious amounts of sweat cleans out my stale emotions and mental clutter.

...spending time with my Mother tunes me into her moods and seasons.

...the high wild places call to me.

...I can sing old Girl Scout songs and make up the words with abandon (silently if not hiking solo).

...the household chores can wait patiently for a rainy day.

...I can never find too many beautiful river rocks, feathers, pine cones and other trail treasures.

...I still can ;)

Alright, now it's your turn!

Why do YOU hike??

Feel free to share, and I'll turn right around and share your replies for all to enjoy in my next newsletter.

Hiking Nectar

Hiking nectar?

What do I think you are, dear reader? A hummingbird?

Funny you should ask.

One of my favorite year round backyard residents happens to be Chirpie, a male hummingbird with gorgeous red throat feathers.

Here is Washington State our winters are mild enough that a few hummers stick around. [The fact that my husband built a plug-in nectar feeder might have something to do with it!]

I was watching Chirpie fuel up for another long cold night a few evenings ago. Each night he goes into what's called "torpor", a sort of suspended animation, by drinking huge amounts of nectar to burn as fuel while he sleeps.

That's why this feisty little bird defends his nectar source without regard to his small stature. It's a matter of life and death, quite literally!

He buzzes me each time I refill his feeder, sort of a warning that I'd better deliver the goods quickly because he's got more important things to do than wait around. I'm not arrogant enough to think that he's actually thanking me.

Anyway, Chirpie's got his priorities straight: nectar above all else. And I've got my priorities, with hiking near the top of the list. But do I defend my trail time as vigilantly as he defends his nectar?

Not always. Things and events and people come first, sometimes. Sunny spring days slip away without getting trail dust on my boots.

But that just makes trail time even sweeter!!

So if you have to get a little edgy in order to carve out trail time, folks will just have to understand it's in your hiking nature to defend a source of sustenance!

Chirpie certainly understands.

Things To Do Right Now

While you wait for Mother Nature to put on her annual display of flora, why not get a few hiking chores out of the way?

Swap out your frayed boot laces.

Take a hiking sock inventory and replace missing or worn socks.

Buy a field guide and read up on something you're curious about, in preparation for trail time.

Learn to use all of the high tech features on your camera so you'll be ready to snap a shot of whatever you meet on the trail.

Bake a batch of trail cookies, just because. Freeze some for upcoming trail adventures.

Dump out your day pack and discard fossilized lip balms, outdated sunscreen, and dried out hand wipes.

Now that I've given you some chores, I think I'll skedaddle!

Wishing you great spring weather and even greater dreams of hiking adventures .... From me to you,

Happy Trails always.

-Diane a.k.a. Happy Hiker
Back to Back Issues Page