Hiking: The Balance Between Exercise And Pondering

Someone sent in this very interesting article from Patheos.com

Teaching My Daughter How To Hike: Did I Do A Bad Thing

It’s an interesting article about a father hiker who has a daughter who ends up loving hiking – but then he turned it into more of a “race” or a “game” where her first instinct was to stop and enjoy every small bit of scenery.

“My daughter, Kara, took a peculiar approach to hiking, however. As soon as she could walk, she took great pleasure being out on a trail. But, for Kara, a trail was not a path to some destination. Rather, it was itself a glorious destination, a place to explore every rock, every log, every flower. If left to her own devices, Kara would progress about fifty feet an hour, thrilled by everything she saw along the way, delighted by every rock she had scaled and every log she had crossed.”

Now granted, this is not “hiking” when it comes to most people’s definition. I’d say a fair “hiking pace” would be 20 minutes per mile, or 3 miles per hour, or over 15,000 feet per hour as opposed to the fifty feet per hour Kara’s dad talks about.

Eventually he tapped into Kara’s “competitiveness” to get her to start hiking faster, teaching her to hike efficiently.

Later, the dad ponders:

“I wonder sometimes if I did a bad thing when I taught my daughter to think of hiking as a race to be run rather than as an opportunity to slow down and delight in small gifts of creation. Did I steal a precious part of her childhood because of my own impatience with ordinary rocks, flowers, and logs? Or, by helping Kara to cover the miles, did I enable her to see beauty that she.d never have glimpsed from the trailhead?”

It’s a really interesting question…because if you enjoy everything along the way, you may never get to your destination. But then again, if you get to your destination without enjoying it, what’s the point?

That’s one reason we love hiking: it’s a great analogy for life and while hiking you can really dig down and think about life in general. What’s the right answer?

Only you have that answer for yourself.

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