The thought of hiking takes me back to the days when I was a boy scout. At that time, it meant going to the wild and practicing the survival skills learnt during our regular scout meetings.
As I grew older, priorities changed, I had to actively study or look for money. The food could not buy itself. The best was reminiscing what hiking used to be in conversations with friends. I would look in admiration at those who dared to get out of their comfort zones to actually go out. I would look at the pictures, and the urge to join them grew stronger and stronger. I promised myself to join them next time. But again and again the work refused to do itself, and my boss would not take my absence kindly . Life had become an inescapable hive of work related activity.
An opportunity to join Hikers Afrique for one of their hikes presented itself when the boss was away. The feeling was as thrilling as it was glorious. I have never looked back! I have come to consider it as one of my most important health decisions, as should everyone. It is one thing to read the benefits of doing something, and another to actually experience them.
For your sake, I will breakdown my experience in relation to what I had been reading for a long time.
The breathtaking view, the fresh air, the sounds and smells of nature surround you, and need I say relax your mind, clear your lungs and help you connect with a higher realm in our midst. Most importantly hiking is a powerful cardio workout that :
- Lowers your risk of heart disease
- Improves your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise
- Strengthen your core
- Improve balance
- Help control your weight
- Boost your mood.
The benefits stated are just but a tip of the ice berg, imagine traversing the whole country conquering one hill after another, it evokes a feeling of accomplishment and also your mind expands to the vast beauty that it has beheld.
My first hike was Kijabe Escarpment, we moved through the magnificent great rift-valley, the first most rewarding summit was Williams hill which took us close to an hour to conquer. The weather was amazing, the clouds hanging acrobatically like a meditating monk, bringing with them a cool breeze.It was magical.
We did not know what awaited us however the previous day we had insisted that everyone have a raincoat just in case the weather decides to do what it does best.. At the summit, we took a longer break, had a bite of whatever we had carried as we took in the sights that surrounded us, and admired the eternal green. The apple I had somehow tasted better than anything else and more deserved than the same would feel on an ordinary day. Maybe I was too hungry and my taste buds were eager to receive whatever food I had to offer.
The day was perfect and as earlier indicated; the weather behaved as we had anticipated but hoped would not come true. The skies opened up and blessed us. And as the saying goes “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. It started with steady drops and we pulled out our jackets, covered up and were pleased with our preparedness. The rain had other plans! As if to mock us, it intensified, and topped it with hail stones. At this point, everyone was dead silent, humble, wondering what the next level could be.
Given the steep terrain the hike became tough and if your shoes were not designed for such terrain, then you’d have to prepare to move at an unwanted uncomfortable accelerated involuntary pace. Somehow, we all survived. Still the best experience I had had in a long time!
So now you decide either to hike, and share in my feeling, or not to, and read about the benefits.
Editor: Omoding George Ephraim