Your Favorite (Small) Hiking Moment

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hiking boot lace wrapped around lace hook

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There’s no part of hiking that I don’t absolutely love…

A partial list that’s already too long to read would include: the reading; the learning; the choosing; the pouring over of maps; the planning; the packing; the anticipation and the waking up at crazy hours; the dawn hikes and the sunset hikes; the sunshine, the mud, the fog; the hot days and the icy streams; the big views (of course) but also the small details; how a basic sandwich just hits the spot right when you need it; hiking new trails; hiking the same trails in different seasons; the trees and the moss; the sketchy climbs and scrambles; the buddy hikes and the solo hikes; the guilt-free candy; the absolute quiet of a col in winter; that moment at the end of a loop when you come back to a junction; that post-hike pizza and beer; sharing my photos and writing up my hikes; connecting with so many hikers; constantly learning that the more I learn / the less I know; feeling that I have so much to do, which does feel overwhelming but simutaneously feeling that I have endless energy to do it — on and on…

But somehow lacing up my boots seems to contain it all — this is when I feel it’s really about to happen. Something about cinching my laces around their hooks just feels so satisfying. Every time.

Do you have a small hiking moment like this, that just makes you feel so so good? Hit the comments below…

Here are some fantastic replies…

Pre-Hike Moments

  • Kerri: For me it’s, looking at the map right before I begin and pressing “start” on my watch as I head off on my journey. I definitely have a pre-hike ritual — down to which boot I put on first, tying up my hair and getting my backpack on. And double-checking my car to make sure it’s locked, LOL. But the start on my watch is what transitions my mind to Hiking Mode.
  • Samantha: Most of my hikes require at least a few hours of driving. I’ve done lots of overnights in the car. So, ya, getting up stupid early and packing the car. It’s the only time I don’t mind waking up early. I know then that an adventure is starting!
  • Jenn: When I put on my Darn Tough socks. Those are reserved strictly for hiking. When I put those babies on it feels really special and I have a mind-click, like, “ok, LET’S DO THIS!”
  • Maria: Extending my trekking poles before I hit a trail is so satisfying to me.
  • Kylie: I feel the same way when I click my daypack straps together as I’m taking my first few steps on trail!
  • Karen: For me, it’s that moment I sign the trail register —- that “here we go” moment, like when you’re on a rollercoaster as it leaves the station…

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Moments on the Trail

  • Ari: That moment during a tough climb when my heart is pounding, lungs are screaming, muscles are aching, and everything else melts away. The Hiking Zen Zone.
  • KatarinaMarie: When I reach the summit and take my backpack off and the breeze feels cold on my sweaty back.
  • Chris: Sitting down at the summit for a snack and taking in the views.
  • James: At the summit of a silent winter hike, my gas stove brings water to a boil as I anticipate a very satisfying cup of steaming ramen.
  • Sona: The scent of hemlock and balsam in the sun at the top of a peak. It’s my favorite part of a hike. (Second is post-hike fried food and a good local beer.)

Post-Hike Moments

  • Rangers’s Dad: For me, it’s that satisfaction of getting back in the car and feeling “mission accomplished”. I feel so at peace after a long, hard, successful hike.
  • Sean: It’s true. Coming back to your car is a whole beautiful thing. I now have a solid post-hike-hack-a-thon of drinking a cold seltzer while brushing down my boots, cleaning myself up, and changing into a fresh top and driving shoes. It takes 10 mins and makes the ride home so enjoyable.

I love this one so much I knew I had to end with it…

  • OrchidLance: There’s a specific bird that I always used to hear near the tops of mountains in Vermont, where I grew up. I’ve learned since that it’s a white-throated sparrow, but I never used to know its name — I always called it the “summit bird”, because it signaled we were almost there. It’s got a very beautiful simple whistling tune of two or three notes in an ascending or descending interval. (Although the ones from my childhood all did two notes ascending, and repeated the top note, I’ve heard several other variations since). It’s the one people say sings “O, Canada, Canada, Canada!” Anyway, my specific moment is hearing that bird. I don’t feel I’m truly out in the woods until I’ve heard it

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