If you’re like many people, you find yourself scrolling through countless breathtaking travel photos on Instagram and thinking “Wow! I’d love to go there, do that, and see what they saw.”
There are millions of jaw-dropping peaks, valleys, lakes, beaches, forests, and deserts to see out there and almost all of them have one thing in common — they almost all require some type of hiking to access them. I consider hiking to be the gateway activity leading to many other outdoor adventures. Once you find a destination and hike to it, a true adventurer will begin to think, “I wonder if I could get up to the top of that peak”, or “Wow, check out this trail. I wonder where it leads to.” What typically starts as a plan to just hike up to the saddle, soon becomes a plan to backpack into the basin, hike to the summit, and then spend the day cliff jumping into the lake.
Once you start hiking you quickly realize all the other adventures that are out there to be had if you put in a little extra work to learn some skills and get a bit of additional gear. You soon find yourself addicted to hiking, but not just for hiking’s sake, you do it so you can access all the other things you want to do and see. You hike so you can find that remote geocache or so you can photograph that majestic peak. You hike so you can get to the crag and rock climb or so you can get to the top of that slot canyon you plan to rappel down with your canyoneering crew.
Hiking is the gateway adventure activity. Here’s a list of other activities that hiking is the gateway to:
- Trail running
- Mountain biking
- Base jumping
- Outdoor photography
- Cross country/alpine/backcountry skiing
All of these activities are a bit more advanced in terms of technical gear and skill required and some of them are way more advanced. Some people are good with a solid hiking fix and never dream of hitting the same trail while it’s buried in snow, but at some point, most of us fall to the siren song of the wild and want more. For those of you who are ready to graduate beyond the basics of the hiking trail. I want to personally give you a push to try the harder stuff. Hiking is exhilarating, but it does not compare to the adrenaline of running, riding, or snowshoeing the same trail. You’re just dipping your toes in the water with a good hike. Yes, it can be riskier, and yes, it can force you to significantly modify your budget, but it’s so worth it!
I remember as a kid going on hikes up Rock Canyon by my house and looking at all the beautiful scenery amongst the towering walls and gurgling stream, but over the years, I’ve explored so many other ways to enjoy the same canyon including mountain biking, skiing, caving, climbing, trail running, rappelling, slacklining, snowshoeing, geocaching, backpacking, and probably others I’m not even remembering. I’ve even been pushed up the canyon in a wheelchair. All these experiences combined have given me a much more intimate connection with the canyon and have sparked me on to bigger and crazier adventures. It all started with basic hiking. I now think of Rock Canyon as a sacred place where I’ve gone in times of trouble to soothe my soul and clear my head. I’ve bonded with the location in ways I never would have if I had stuck to the basic trail like the masses of people do. Pushing myself to the limits of what the land allows for has shaped who I am.
Hiking is a great endeavor by itself, but if you are ready to move beyond the basics. I encourage you to pick the next adventure and get going. I’m here to support you all the way. My goal with Adventure School is to give you the skills you need to get out on that next adventure safely, confidently, and with the skills you need to truly enjoy the wild and improve your life.