Why Do I Hike?
This is a question I get asked often and it's impossible to pinpoint one reason. For me, I just LOVE being in the woods and exploring new places. Hiking is much different than other sports in which I've participated: 1) it's not a competition, 2) almost anyone can do it, 3) there's no expensive equipment needed, 4) it's generally easy on the body, 5) it's great for the soul and 6) the world is your oyster. I guess the better question would be "why wouldn't I hike?"
I was very fortunate, as a child, to have a grandmother who loved to walk in the woods. She would take me on short hikes near her home in rural, central Louisiana. She would point out different flora and fauna, tell me a little history of the area and just enjoy nature. When I was 6, my parents sent me to an amazing summer camp in North Carolina called Camp Glen Arden. For 5 weeks each summer (for the next 5 years), I was exposed to the Blue Ridge Mountains and everything the area had to offer. From canoeing to horseback riding to archery, riflery, hiking, camping, arts & crafts and campfire singing, I gained a love for it all. Glen Arden holds a very special place in my heart, and luckily, I now live just 45minutes from this magical place.
But, alas, my teenage years and then school/college/work/kids all became the primary focuses and hiking was forgotten. It would be almost 30 years before I was reminded of my love of the woods. In 2007, my daughters and I moved to Charlotte and I married my husband, David, in 2008. Soon after, he took us to the picturesque little town of Blowing Rock, NC for a weekend. I was like a kid in a candy store! The plethora of nearby trails and waterfalls, the mountain music, the fresh air, the cool breezes on a hot summer day... I knew I needed to have these things in my life again.
For the next few years, our family would rent homes in various areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We adopted a rescue pup who loved the trails as much as we did and our girls seemed to enjoy these adventures, too. While we could have continued renting, we decided it was time to buy our own piece of heaven in the mountains and share it with others. In 2011, Parkway Peek was "born" and it has been our base for adventure ever since. We have had countless friends and family visit and we make our home available to others through Houfy Vacation Rentals. It is another magical place for me and instantly relaxes me upon arrival.
Fast-forward to today. We now live in Greenville, SC and I am part of several hiking groups in the Carolinas. This is an amazing place to live and offers such a diversity of trails (and crystal clear lakes for kayaking, another one of my passions). We are just 2 1/2 hours from Parkway Peek and love the ability to always find new adventures between the two locations. My goal this year is to complete 100 hikes. It should be a pretty easy task, but hey, we must have goals! Thanks to 2 very active dogs, an extremely supportive husband and some fabulous ladies with a similar passion, hitting the trails is never a difficult decision.
So, back to the original question, "why do I hike?" I guess the answer is "because I can" and "all of the above." I hope I can inspire some of you to do the same (with a rescue pup is even better)!