Well besides the obvious reasons, health, hiking brings a great relief of stress to the body. I hike to be one with nature. To breath in the fresh, clean air, high in the mountains or far at sea, changes your perspective on life. Growing up in MN I had access to some large beautiful parks and trails to hike in and on. My hometown was situated where the great Mississippi River and St Croix river coverage. And surrounding the town was either fields or wilderness area. Well ok, more farm then woods. But we did have some good place to hike not too far from my home. If one chose to venture, northern MN was a hiker and campers paradise. The Boundary Waters Canoe area was one of the most popular. A vast untouched wilderness of lakes and rivers for people to enjoy.
Since my grandparents had a cabin in northern WI, I, however, spent numerous days there throughout my childhood. It probably where most of my adventure seeking came from. In the summer the vast amount of ATV trails populated the landscape. Using an old motorcycle in the garage from my fathers earlier days, I toured 100’s of miles of trails. And if I was not riding through these paths, hiking was. On the flip side, in the winter the same trails I annotated with my presence, I did again but this time on snowmobiles. And to me, the beauty was always changing. I saw new things every time I went out.
However, Washington state brought on a whole new adventure for me. For starters, I was less than 60 miles from the most significant mountain on the west coast, Rainer. And the state park there encompasses more than 360 sq. Miles of rugged and beautiful wilderness. Collectively, I spent hours at the park. I could either be found hiking, climbing, rappelling and even be camping. No matter what I was doing, as long as I was at the park, life was good. I used to take small groups of soldiers up to Rainer to teach rappelling. With a rope that was 700′, pretty much anywhere we wanted to rappel was possible. We had a few favorite places we would rappel. Two in particular. One inside of the park and one on the outside of the park on the opposite side of where we usually climb. Both, however, where differently than each other. One was a shear 700′ cliff and the other was an inverted cliff, with a 500′ unsupported fall. Unsupported meaning there was no wall to bounce off, just free air.
To be continued…