Hiking connects us with Nature. In fact, Hiking is defined, literally and figuratively, by its nature connection. A walk must be in nature (usually termed the “countryside” in dictionaries) in order for it to be considered a hike.
Most books about hiking, particularly guidebooks, promote the natural wonders reached by trail with back-cover blurbs. Getting into nature is inseparable from hitting the trail. Hiking has a nature connection to be sure.
“When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: what would become of us, if we only walked in a garden or mall!” mused Henry David Thoreau.
Hiking helps us connect (or reconnect if it’s been awhile since our last hike) with the green scene, the natural world, the way the world looked like and functioned before humans “improved” it.
The concept of “ecopsychology” explores the innate human need to connect with the natural rather than the built environment. This “getting back to nature” movement may provide the kind of peace of mind so many of us seek in today’s uber-industrialized world. All the research in the field, too, support what hikers have known all along: walking in nature is good for both body and soul.
It’s been my pleasure, for many years, to be in a position to share my sense of wonder and curiosity as well as the delights of discovering nature reached by footpaths.
I’ve been labeled a “hiking writer,” a “nature writer,” and a “writer about nature and hiking.”
Any of these labels is just fine with me, as long as I make the connection—and others make the connection—between nature and hiking.