You read this word on so many dating profiles-especially in the Pacific Northwest.

Usually it’s code for – I sometimes go outdoors. 

This can be frustrating for people like myself who struggle with people’s seemingly loose interpretations of words. 

This frustration caused me to reflect on what the word means to me. 

Hiking for me  is a myriad of things – walking mediation,  constant brain and body stimulation from nature and even a religious experience. 

I go on a hikes at least once a week and more during travel. 

I made my last client who booked  two week date go in three sunrise hikes, two national park hikes and I did a few solo hikes during his zoom work calls. 

But I’m actually not very good at it. I have done some of the hardest trails, I have thru hiked, did a fifteen day  trip in Scotland, twenty nine days in Nepal, five days in Fiji – but even after all that I’m not actually good at hiking.  I am even a member of a hiking club and still … 

I am great at the outdoor and survival things like making a fire, making herbal medicines, spotting which berries and fruits are edible.  I can even fish with a net. 

But – 

I am a short person with short legs, tiny feet and huge boobs.  I have also broken both of my ankles and a few toes.  So my balance is off to say the least. I also am asthmatic and have breathing issues due to a lung puncture incident on Annapurna.  

So I go slow and steady.  While going my own pace has been my life’s path – I did not think that it would be an actual physical  manifestation. 

I have never laughed so hard at myself as when I was walking up Mt Fuji, taking an inhaler break while eighty nine year olds grandmas were passing me by. 

But here is the thing- hiking doesn’t ask you to be good. It does not demand  you be the best. 

No competition exists. 

It gently requests your  full presence to honor the path you have chosen to take. 

Gifts are given to you if you show up fully present.  A sweet birdsong, chicken of the woods mushrooms,  sometimes a tree will be the perfect form for your butt to sit and read for a few hours or  you will find yourself swimming naked in a hidden lake on an island during a rainstorm. 

I once watched a beautiful blonde woman run across a river hitting each stone perfectly, legs pumping, never stopping. 

 While I had  to crouch  and hop like Smegal in the same river pass since my stride is not long enough.  While in Fiji I just swam/ walked across the rivers since I knew  I was going to fall anyways.  

I will never be able to change my height and while my lung capacity is getting better – it won’t ever be normal. 

But I keep going. It doesn’t matter how fast you go – as long as you go. 

Nature  did not ask us to compare ourselves to each other.  It does not exist as a measuring contest.  I would go as far as to say it does not exist to be dominated by humans. 

It simply exists in its own divinity.