I have been hiking long distances for a number of years now. I’d say my hiking has become to an addiction, but I am sure you’d agree that it’s a pretty healthy one.
This addiction probably comes from all the positives of hiking long trails. The only negative for me is the time between hikes, but that can be filled up by watching other hikers on youtube, planning your next hike and dreaming of nights under the stars.
Without further waffling, here are just some of the many reasons why you should hit the trails and walk further than you ever have before.
Great for body, mind and spirit
The benefits for your health need no explanation. You are almost certainly going to be as fit as ever by the end of your hike. Any excess weight is likely to have fallen away after a few weeks on the trail. Your heart will be the happiest it’s ever been.
Your mind will be free to wander and day to day stress will likely be non-existant. Hiking anywhere scenic will lift your spirits.
If you have trouble sleeping, then hiking long distance traiils will almost certainly help. If you are still struggling to get to sleep after hiking 40km day then you need to hike on further.
The only thing I would add is if you are sharing accommodation then remember to bring your ear plugs with you!
You can eat as much as you like
Hiking six plus hours a day is going to burn a lot of calories. If you are having to carry your own food, which is often the case on long trails, then you’ll likely struggle to get enough calories compared to what you’ll burn.
On a hike like the Camino de Santiago, this might not apply so much because you generally buy all your food along the way and you’ll not need to carry much.
I would also say that you can eat as much as you like for a few weeks before you start a trail. Any excess is will likely be burned off in a week or so!
You are able to experience the joys of a very simple life
Our lives are so complicated these days. Modern life really does take it’s toll on us all. Everyday there are things we have to accomplish, deadlines to meet and places where we have to be.
When you are on a long hike all these life complications just go away, almost from taking the first step on the trail.
Having a few weeks, or better still a few months of a very simple life can change you forever. On the trail all you have to think about are the very basics for survival. FInding shelter, having a drink and feeding yourself.
Once you have the basics sorted then it’s simply placing one foot in front of the other (and repeating, if you actually want to get anywhere).
You will meet some wonderful people
OK folks, brace yourselves because I am going to make a generalisation here. Othe hikers are some of the coolest, nicest and most friendly people you’ll ever meet.
Of course there will be a few exceptions, but they’ll be few and far between. Hiking long distances seem to attract the same type of folk. Those that love the outdoors, the simple things in life, nature, being nomadic and with an adventurous spirit.
It’s not just the other hikers. You’ll probably meet trail angels too. People that give up their time to makes the lives of hikers just that little bit easier or nicer.
You will probably spend far less money than in normal life
Hking long distance trails need not cost the earth. If you manage to put all your belongings into storage and move out of where you are living, then you’ll probably save money!
Even commercial hikes like the Camino de Santiago are not expensive. You can find a bed most nights for less than 10 Euros! If you are hiking one of the long distance trails in the USA then your accommodation will be free most of the time, as you’ll be hiking in the wilderness.
You’ll find that you can’t really buy that much on the trail because you have to carry everything. Your biggest expense will probably be food and that’s no bad way to spend your hard earned cash.