Lorna here. I recently was asked if Tallahassee had a local HLAW group. I felt bad for a minute as I explained that no, they did not. The closest group was in Central Florida. I felt bad because I know there probably are more women out there asking the same question, not just here in Tallahassee, but nationwide in their areas.
This question got me to thinking though about why I don’t head up a local chapter to lead hikes. For me, it really is simple, I prefer hiking with my husband. I don’t feel like I have a lot of spare time and what time I have, I prefer to spend with family. We often take our fur baby with us. We have got to take our kids and grandsons with us over the years also. It makes for some memorable stories sometimes too!
I realized though that I prefer hitting the trail with him because we know each other’s limits. We have our packs and know what the other one is carrying. We know each other’s trail speed. We know which parts of the trail challenge us individually and we work together to have fun. It gives us quality time together doing something healthy and adventurous. We grow out there, individually and as a couple. I like to plan the hikes, he likes to lead the hikes. I know he always has my back. Bottom line is, I always feel safer hiking with him. He gives me that added sense of security on the trail that allows to me enjoy the trail while I am out there.
I also like that he is always up for new adventures. Even when we are traveling long distance, he is willing to stop nearby a state park in another state, just so we can get up early and adventure down a new trail. When we are new places where we know nothing about the area, I sometimes giggle at his hiking attire, especially when he totes a hatchet hanging from the front of his chest strap. I tell him, you are going to scare other hikers. He laughs at me. He is a very fun and kind-hearted guy, but he likes having an intimidating look on the trail. We have never been approached by anyone. Not by anyone that appears local and nice or anyone we would classify as shady. I usually pick at him later and tell him, I bet they think you look shady!
A few days later I was chatting online with a couple other Ambassadors and one of them mentioned her local HLAW chapter going on a hike. I asked her why she likes meeting up with strangers to hike so much. I personally am not the social butterfly, so I confess, I was baffled. I have led hikes, for local scout troops. I guess I felt safe in that because they were not strangers. I felt like I was doing something good to give back to my community. Why is it so much harder for me when it is strangers then? Am I that much of an introvert?
It led me to dive deeper into the whole conversation and reach out to our whole team of ambassadors and ask them also, who do you hike with?
Here is what they had to say:
I hike with my husband; I love hiking with him because we are familiar & comfortable with each other. We also share the same style of a leisurely pace and truly taking the time to enjoy what’s around us.
I also hike with my locals group; I love hiking with other ladies also, even one’s I don’t know. It’s great to get that quality girl time and be in nature when doing it. Styles vary widely in our group but faster hikers are happy to accommodate us slower ones and enjoy the girl time in nature. We’ve also developed a habit of grabbing a bite near our hike and make a full girls kinda of day of it.
I feel I get the best of both worlds! I’m not a solo hiker, I’m too much of a people person.
I love hiking with my boys, I have three. Ages 10, 3, and 10 months. It’s important to me to get them out whenever I can wrangle my circus. With my oldest I was a single mom for a very long time and what free time we had wasn’t spent in the woods. I feel like it stunted a lot of confidence in his ability to listen to his body. I started hiking with my 3-year-old when he was only 5 months and I find myself amazed daily watching him climb and jump and problem solve.
It’s also important to me that they see me getting out. First and foremost hiking is my hobby that I hope they will love, but it’s good for them to see me doing something I love. We make such great memories together and I hope that they’ll love nature and hiking as much as me when they grow up.
I absolutely love hiking and backpacking with my husband. He knows all my quirks. We work as a team without even discussing roles. He takes care of me. It gives him the chance to totally spoil me. He carries the heavy pack. He sets up the camp. He cooks the meals. And he makes sure I have a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Even though he spoils me, I love the fact we share decisions together as a team. Where to hike? When to stop? Where to set up camp? When to get up in the morning? How long to hike? Along the trail we share thoughts and get to experience everything together. We learn to survive and how to count on each other with a little spoilage thrown in. The memories we are making together are ours alone and no one else’s. And that’s why I hike with who I hike with….
For me hiking is all about love. It teaches you to love the environment around you, and the people you hike with, and yourself.
I hike solo, with my hubby and with my friends. I like hiking with me because I can go at my own pace, go where I want, see more animals and enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountains.
I love hiking with my husband because of the joy I see on his face as he sees the joy the mountains and nature bring me. It really shows me how much he loves me. He doesn’t enjoy hiking but he enjoys seeing me happy so he would climb any mountain for me, literally and figuratively.
I like hiking with my friends because they make me laugh, they push me harder than I think I can go and they celebrate in my accomplishments with me no matter how big or small.
Until my locals group, I hiked alone and loved it. I still do but having the locals group has actually opened my mind and made me step out of my comfort zone.
I hike with anyone who is like minded but lately I’m not super fast so I really enjoy hiking with my boyfriend as we both love taking pictures, smelling the woods, touching the trees and seeing how remarkable nature really is.
I agree with Annie on hiking with my locals group. I’m learning new things about the women I knew before they joined the group, and I’m also meeting some pretty cool new people too. And, there’s such a variety of women; some have backpacked, some day hike, and others, well they hadn’t even hiked until they joined the group. They’re moms, wives, single ladies, students, travelers, caretakers, lawyers, grandparents, heck one of the women is even in two bands, how cool is that?!?
But, I also cherish my time solo hiking. I can get out of my head, embrace nature, and the quiet solitude of hiking alone. Oh, and there’s my gal pals in Colorado that I adore hiking with. I wish it could happen more often.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of training hikes (steeper elevation gain with a pack) with my climbing friends to be in shape for climbs/summits. It’s a fun challenge but usually not the time to take photos and really enjoy the scenery. I also love a good solo hike to clear my head, even if it’s just for a 1/2 hour. I also have a few friends in town that I love to do different hikes with. We have some great trail conversations and reflections while stopping for photos and lots of breaks.
This is such a tough one. I love hiking with myself and my dog for peace and clarity. My daughter for her wonder and amazement of the great outdoors, my husband for reconnecting time, my friends for girl time and my HLAW Hiking group for the ability to get Woman out on the trail that normally wouldn’t go and to meet new women with the same interest I do.
I am most definitely a solo hiker. But I didn’t start solo hiking by choice. In my 20s, I waited around for someone to go hiking with. I love reading my fellow Ambassadors talk about hiking with their husband and how they know exactly what to expect. I wanted that so badly. But as the years moved on and that special person who knew me so well never came, I realized I could spend my life waiting or I could just go alone. And the more I hiked alone, the more I realized I love it. Well truth be told, I’m not truly alone. I hike with my dog, Caddie.
Now I crave that solitude in nature. Something my 20-year-old self would never believe. Would a husband to hike with be nice? Sure. But do I have to have to be fulfilled in life. No. When I’m not hiking solo, I’m hiking with my two best friends and love the girl time on the trail. I also love visiting and hiking with my HLAW sisters.
All these responses from the other ambassadors had me nodding my head, saying Yes!
Minus the girl time, that is, all these things I get to experience with my husband. I am usually the little kid in amazement, jumping in mud puddles though, not him. Maybe I need him to be the adult, I don’t know. All the rewards, the benefits – all the experiences they described though are why I go too.
So I ask all of you, is it really who we hike with that matters or what we experience while we are out there on the trail?