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by Diane Spicer
Use those links to find more helpful tips than you can shake your trekking pole at, as well as this site map.
Instead, if you're up for it, let's talk here about hiking tips for other, less often discussed facets of hiking by focusing on this question:
Do you approach your trail time from
all four perspectives?
You might not have noticed that you have 4 facets to "you" as a hiker, beginning with the spiritual dimension and moving through the emotional, mental, and physical levels.
These best hiking tips will get you thinking about all 4 dimensions - or you can just focus on the one(s) which interest(s) you the most.
Because being a one-dimensional hiker is rather boring, don't you agree? It's like looking at a map but never hiking the real trail!
I am not about to tell you which religion is best, or which spiritual leader or book or movement is THE way.
That's a deeply personal decision.
But I do want to share with you how important it is to have passion and purpose in your life.
For me, hiking unlocks my spiritual dimension because it touches a dimensionless space inside of me.
It also puts me in touch with a deep commitment to the planet, and to my fellow travellers in time, which leads to thoughts of service and compassion.
Not a bad head space to be in, I hope you'll agree.
To explore what I mean, here's a question for you:
Have you ever allowed yourself some space and time to just sit beneath a tree and breathe slowly?
You might not think of this as a spiritual exercise, but you'd be surprised what you might learn about yourself!
Here's the trick:
Empty your mind and focus on just one thing: breathing with the tree.
Lean against it, or lie beneath it and look up at its branches.
Acknowledge that both of you are fellow Earth travellers.
Try my tree-breathing tip for a few minutes and then get back on the trail, refreshed and energized.
If the spiritual aspect didn't surface, at least your red blood cells are oxygenated and your muscles are relaxed!
I also highly recommend that you try a little Nature Therapy to ground yourself.
You could also consider hiking as a spiritual pilgrimage.
Hiking tips to address the emotional aspects of being a strong, confident, committed hiker should begin with identifying your emotions.
This sounds deceptively simple, but I find it very hard to nail exactly what I'm feeling sometimes in the rush and tumble of the workaday world.
I tend to blur the line between annoyance and flat out anger.
Or I allow irritations to build up until a volcano of upset and hurt spews forth, scorching everything in its path.
So, based upon personal experience, I advise you to isolate each emotion as it arises, and examine it dispassionately. A long day's hike is the perfect place for this!
Decode the message(s) in your emotions by asking yourself:
I can't speak for you, but I'm committed to working on my emotions, unpacking the truth within them, and using that truth to become more stable and centered.
I find this work to be easier while I'm hiking, probably because I'm not distracted by emails, phone, to do lists, and other interruptions.
Long stretches of trail time give me mental space to go back over my latest emotional upset, and analyze it.
It helps if your trail companions are not chatty. If they are, fall back a bit to clear some mental space for yourself.
Try it for yourself on your next hike! Devote your thoughts to working out why you feel the way you feel when your feelings are uncomfortable.
Why would I suggest you do this? Because dark, heavy emotions rob you of energy.
Wouldn't you rather have that energy directed to your passions in life, like hiking?
Mental hiking tips begin with the energy theme, too.
To use another personal example:
If I have a long list of things waiting to be accomplished back home, I don't enjoy my hike to the fullest.
But if I allow it to, hiking pulls me out of my head and away from my troubles and looming chores.
The rhythm of the trail creates space to become peaceful and un-filled-up with my "to do" lists.
In a sense, I claim my power and utilize it for the hiking trail.
Those chores will be waiting for me when I get home, so why spend my precious outdoor time stewing about them?
So try this tip:
The next time you catch yourself in the mental churn cycle, consciously disrupt it by focusing on how much you are loving being on the trail!
At last we get to the hiking tips for your physical hiker's body.
Here, I'd like to drop a little challenge into your lap.
By building solid physical habits, your trail time will be enhanced a thousand-fold because you won't be as prone to the usual trail issues:
And that means you will be able to enjoy every moment of each and every hike!
Do you have a few new ideas to toss around on your next hike, in the privacy of your mind?
Or perhaps you're re-invigorated to make the most of trail time.
Either way, best wishes for great hiking!
Every trail has its secrets, and you'll be able to unlock them now that you're tuned into your four facets as a hiker.
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