So what if I go to bed a 7:30 p.m.?
So what if I like to wake up before the sun to head north to the mountains?
So what if I have several different backpacks depending on the length of my hike?
My non-hiking friends always ask me, “What’s up with hiking?,” “It sounds boring,” “What’s so great about it?” My response is always the same. “Come, and I will show you.”
The truth is, there are so many “best parts” about hiking. I could never narrow it down to just one. Here are my favorite things about hiking.
1. Flexibility: You can go whenever you want. You don’t even have to wait for the sun to rise. Most activities necessitate a specific time frame. No waiting for the people in front of you to putt faster at the mini golf place or for the movie to start. You just go. Hiking doesn’t require any reservations (unless you are sleeping overnight in an AMC hut). You can watch the sun set and continue hiking until the middle of the night.
2. Solitude: You don’t need anyone else to go. Solo hikes are awesome and equal parts challenging and rewarding. Companion hikes or group hikes also have their benefits too. I have most recently been hiking with my puppy, and she is loving it.
3. Creativity: Hiking is customizable. You can create your own hike. You can pick your route, the length, the difficulty and what type of views you want to see. It’s like your own real life “choose your own adventure” book.
4. Relaxing: The gear is uber comfy. Think perfect, temperature controlled, glorified pajamas.
Most importantly, every person can hike – yes, EVERY person can hike. This means you.
This coming Saturday, Sept. 14, I am hiking for a very special reason – in honor of those who lost their lives in 9/11. This majestic event is called The Flags on the 48.
What is The Flags on the 48?
The Flags on the 48 is a grassroots effort, made up entirely of volunteers who believe those who perished in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 should never be forgotten. It is a collection of regular hikers and non-hikers alike, joining forces each year to create this unique memorial. People participate from all over the world. There have been participants from as far away as Brazil and as close as next door. But no matter where people come from, everyone hikes to remember those who lost their lives in our country’s worst act of terrorism.
The hiking community continues to honor the deceased with this tribute: flying the American flag atop all 48 of the 4,000-foot and higher mountains in New Hampshire. By demonstrating steadfast unity in this challenging endeavor, it is the hope to express unwavering support to the families, friends and communities whose losses are beyond comprehension and whose suffering we remember in our hearts.
I have been fortunate to participate in this last year and lead a team up Galehead Mountian. If you are interested in joining my 43 Degrees North Team this year, please email me at email@example.com. Everyone is welcome and we will be hiking North Kinsman mountain.
(Crystal Reynolds is an owner at 43 Degrees North Athletic Club.)