When Did You Realize You Loved Hiking?

I hated hiking growing up. Despised it.

My Nana’s favorite saying as I grumpily whined and shuffled along was “Every party has a pooper”. She loved hiking. When visiting we went on at least a couple dayhikes. So as an adult I have to laugh that of my brother and the two cousins I grew up near, I am the only one who super loves hiking. They were all happy to be out there when we were little. Meanwhile, I was crabby and hating walking through the sand/dirt/mud to wherever she chose.

Yes, stay jealous. That is a sweet ride right there. Bright yellow, it told you who owned the road! We could also talk about the girl being carried, who was so not going to walk in snow.

Neither was I impressed by tall walls of snow at Mount Rainier. The snow doesn’t get that high much anymore up here now. The picture was early summer, before the walls of snow melt out.

I spent a lot of time as a child on the Oregon Coast, as my Nana had a house on the bluff above the Pacific Ocean. Apparently I inherited my Mom’s love of dressing children in matching hats……

Growing up, Nana’s favorite hike was for us to visit a spit of land, that¬†separated the bay and the Pacific Ocean. Long ago there had been train tracks and a sea town built on it, till it was wrecked by changing tides.


As you can tell, I was a joyous hiking partner at 12 years old. I grew up, but was still crabby. I would shuffle behind her, carrying on. Probably where my middle kid gets it from. He does the same thing, I just ignore him and walk, and he shuffles along.

The months after this photo, Nana sold the house and moved up North, and within a few years we moved to the area as well (on an island). While on the island, I started hiking on my own, with my Mother at times. We lived across the street from a state park so would wander over. I didn’t find it joyous, and to be honest I didn’t even like it – but we lived 10 miles out-of-town and I was bored.

A few years later, in college, I was invited on a backpacking trip over Spring Break. I had never backpacked before, and not even camped on the ground (the few feeble attempts at camping as a kid were on cots in a well ventilated tent). The hike in did nothing for me. We started our hike at night, in pouring rain. I had a borrowed ill-fitting external metal frame backpack and no rain gear on. I was miserable and spent a cold night trying to get warm (I had no idea I needed a sleeping pad), so I slept on the ground. I spent a week out there, and learned a lot (that for example a bed of evergreen branches made a pretty decent sleeping pad, if maybe not so ethical to do).

But what changed it for me was one day that trip a friend and I went on a dayhike from basecamp. We went cross-country and followed a creek, through the woods. We found a bear den, empty for the season. We sat down by the creek there and it was magical. I had never felt that feeling before. The woods were so pretty and alive. Birds twittered. And I got it finally. I hadn’t hiked the right hike was all. It’d be a few more years before I really got into it, but I was hooked.


One thought on “When Did You Realize You Loved Hiking?

  1. I think I have always liked walking in the woods (did a lot of that as a kid with friends), but I think when I really began to love it (wanting to do it on my own and really hike) I was about 13, my Mom took me on our very first ever vacation to Hot Springs National Park and we went hiking. I was just amazed at the beauty and calmness!

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