It was only a handful of years ago – back in 2015 – that I realized hiking was something I had any interest in. Now, a trip up the mountains is all I want to do on the weekends and the thing I think about during the week. Looking back, the journey to my love for hiking started long before 2016.
I don’t remember going hiking when I was growing up. There were the short trips in the woods or a historical walk along a civil war route, but going up in the mountains to see a waterfall or an awesome view isn’t something I remember. Still, when I look back, all the signs seem so obvious now that I loved being in nature – having that feeling of awe just from being surrounded by trees or wanting to stare at a river running past you for hours.
In 2014, Kristin and I were living in Texas and decided to mix it up and go on a hike at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge. It was over 90°, there was almost no shade, and we saw wild boar stampede right by us about 20 ft away. Not the greatest hiking day by any standards and my wife definitely didn’t enjoy it, but there was still something about it I loved.
A little while later we moved to the Upstate of South Carolina, only a 45 minute drive to the mountains. We were looking for a hobby and decided to give hiking another go. We set off for Caesar’s Head State Park greatly unprepared but excited to see the mountains that we were missing in Texas. We ended up on the West end of Rim of the Gap (a much more difficult trail than we were prepared for and one I don’t recommend without experience and planning). It was incredible. We passed creeks and walked across waterfalls all while being seemingly alone out in nature. We took our time before coming to a point where the trail seemed to get lost in the woods and we turned back.
The whole hike was magical – cheesy way to put it, but I stand by it. I loved being out in the woods and not hearing another person, or car, or anything. Walking across the little waterfalls on the trail and sitting by a creek to eat lunch were where I first realized hiking was something I loved.
Since then I’ve hiked hundreds more miles, and I still love it. We hike more and more often and go further and further – I’m still sticking with our 500 mile goal even though I’m just now starting for the year after a knee injury. It hasn’t gotten old yet, and I don’t think it ever will.