Hiking is the oldest exercise known to man. It was first used in the early days as a way to get from one place to another. Most ethnic groups were nomadic for various reasons. Some times bad weather forced them to leave because of forest fires, floods, extremely low temperatures, or droughts. Another reason they became nomadic was the lack of food for the tribe or because of the migration patterns of the birds and animals. They were dependent upon animals for food, clothing, shelter, and various tools they made from the bones and sinews. When ethnic groups got into territorial fights over land and water, they either divided the land up peacefully, killed enough members of the other tribe and took over the land, or tribal members moved on to prevent extinction of their clans. There were ethnic groups that liked to travel and see what lay beyond the horizon. For centuries, it was the main way people did their chores, conducted business meetings,or attended social gatherings. In the last half of the 18th Century and in the 1900,s people walked for recreation. In the 1900’s, in our own country, people hit the roads and became vagabonds, especially during the great depression and after the World Wars.
As a child in the fifties, children and adults hiked. They went on vacations or went to nearby parks and lakes to hike as a way to get away from the stresses of life. Walking outdoors became a passion of mine. I learned the names of trees, flowers, and birds when I hiked. The best part of hiking was getting away from the others with me in the woods. I loved to stand or sit and hear the silence. There were times when I felt transported to a different time and place. I could hear the sounds of the birds, the rustling of little animals in the under brush. I could hear the babbling of the brook, and breathe the smells in the air. Hiking became a very spiritual experience for me. It provided nourishment for my soul.