How Hiking Makes You Mentally Tougher

There has been a point in every hike I’ve been on where I’ve thought to myself “I don’t want to do this anymore.” Let that sink in for a minute; every. Single. Hike. On this particular hike it happened here:


This does not look like the type of place where you think to yourself that you don’t want to hike anymore. This looks like the kind of picturesque trail where you think about how amazing nature is.

But that’s my reality of hiking. I was 3.5 miles deep on a technically tricky trail still wet from rain the night before. I was 3.5 miles deep on a trail that I had read was 6 miles round trip. My 6 mile joy ride had turned into an 8 mile nightmare.

So the scene has been set. I’m tired, I’m hungry, and at this point I just really want to be done with this whole thing. So, I stopped and took a deep breath paired with the photo above. And then I kept going until I reached the summit. If nothing about the previous sentence seems odd to you then congrats! You have mental toughness.

What I neglected to mention is that even though there’s been a point in which I wanted to quit on my hikes I have never actually done it, because in my mind that’s never been an option. Not once have I though “I’m over this” and then proceeded to turn around and go home. And I think that’s something you develop as a hiker, an understanding that even when things get hard you just keep pushing, because eventually you will reach the summit. And the satisfaction of pushing through is EVERYTHING.

I could have quit, it would have been so easy. I was hiking alone, it was supposed to rain later, and there was really nothing stopping me; but not once while on my hike did I actually consider quitting to be an option. Because yeah, it would have been easier, but it wouldn’t have been worth it.

As I was thinking about this I realized that this attitude of “just keep going because you are capable” has really transferred over to every part of my life: relationships, projects, work tasks, personal goals, etc. and that’s a pretty great realization.

hiking grandfather mountain summit

Question: How do you think hiking has changed the way to approach your day to day life?

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