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Thoughts

The Secret to Becoming A Hiker

tips for being a better hiker

About a month before I graduated from college I remember sitting across the table at a local sandwich shop from the boy I was seeing and casually saying “yeah I think this summer I want to hike more.” To be candid, I’m not sure I really meant it when I said it. If I’m being honest I think I knew that he was pretty outdoorsy, and I wanted to impress him. I’m not seeing that guy anymore, but I am doing a lot of hiking these days.

Last summer I completed 13 hikes throughout the state of Vermont. At some point during that endeavor my goal changed from “I want to hike more” to “I want to be a hiker.” In everything that I’ve done in life I have a tendency to want to be an “er.”

What is being an “er” you ask? Hiker, sailor, runner, baker, dancer, photographer, etc. It’s the point where you stop doing it and it starts to become a part of who you are. I’m very hot or cold with the things that interest me, so when I find something to be passionate about I throw my whole self into it. But as with all of those things, there isn’t some set benchmark where you get a piece of paper that states you made it and then you’re done.

So how did I become a hiker?

Honestly, I think it boils down to this: I’m a hiker because I just started doing it, and then I kept doing it. At some point I started to enjoy the hike, not just the view. No one is going to give you that title. You don’t hike a certain amount of miles, get the “right” pair of boots, or log a set amount of hours. You just do it until you are it.

I can’t tell you the exact moment I switched from being someone who hikes to being a hiker; and I can’t tell you when you’ll be a hiker. The truth is, there isn’t a secret, you just have to start, because if you don’t you’ll never get there.

Question: What’s an “er” you want to be?

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