I hadn’t heard of the concept hiking until I moved to the US in 1996. I was fascinated by this hiking activity that everyone was talking about. What was it? What did you need to do it? I had been camping of course, but although this hiking seemed to involve an awful lot of equipment, tent or sleeping bags were not requirements.
I remember my disappointment after my very first hike, up the Diamond Head Crater.
So it’s like a…long walk, really?
Growing up in close proximity to forests, it had never occurred to me that people planned days out to walk through them, bringing picnics and purposely designed shoes. The forest was to me a shortcut to the supermarket, a playground, the arena where “Who Can Stand Longest on Top of an Ant Hill” was decided between my brother and the other boys.
The only longer walks that I remember undertaking, was when Mother dragged me off into one of the darker corners, only to announce that she was now lost and I had to lead the way. These little games of her's were designed to make sure I could always find my way back home. I am sure they contributed not only to my very good sense of direction, but also my general self-confidence.
As devoted Mother was to making sure I would never be lost, by the time my youngest sister were born, she was tired of pacing off into the woods with a feet-dragging child behind her.
It shows too! My youngest sister may be the brainiest of us, but she can get lost in broom cupboard.