Why I Hike

Let me paint you a picture. It is a hot Sunday afternoon and after a short (but traffic-filled) car ride from Nairobi, we finally arrive the slopes of Mount Longonot to begin an intermediate hike up the mountain. Looking back on this experience and other hikes I have been on, I am confronted with answering the question of why I actually hike. Here are my six (6) reasons why:

First, hiking provides me with a form of exercise that is less traditional than the typical gym-based setting. Gyms are great but let’s be honest- they are stuffy and can feel confined and boxed in especially when full. Furthermore, they are plagued by the dreaded post-rush hour crowds and have multiple social rules pertaining to “special hours” and the likes. Hiking in the outdoors on the other hand occurs in the open fresh air and offers none of the constraints that plague local gyms. Not to mention that typical hikes are more affordable. A peaceful brush with nature that fulfils my working out needs? Sign me up anytime.

Secondly, hiking helps me achieve much needed mental clarity and de-clattering. To me, it is a meditative experience that is humbling in its ability to remind me that we, as humans, are small pieces in the larger outdoors picture. Plus being away from the hustle and bustle of city life is always calming. One of my favourite parts of the Longonot hike was simply walking in the heavy mountain soil and finishing the hike looking very dusty but definitely un-wound. No pressure to look a certain way but to simply be and enjoy the moment. That is therapy.

Third, you cannot talk about a hike (or any outdoors experience for that matter) without mentioning stunning views. Spectacularly natural, hikes provide an opportunity to appreciate nature and creation in its most authentic form. Different kinds of wildlife typically feature on the trails as well adding to the appeal. From a safe distance, I could prominently see buffalos grazing casually in the horizon. So wonderful. Hiking thus also provides an opportunity to be reminded of the importance of conservation and environmental preservation.

Fourth, (and a particularly convincing reason for my hiking) is the community of outdoors people I meet on the trails. From tour-guides, trail attendants, and fellow hikers, trust me, outdoors people are the most down-to-earth, free spirited group of people you will probably meet around. It is always great to rub shoulder with them; and for an extrovert like myself, it fulfils my quota of needing to socialise in a non-conventional manner instead of the usual bar/restaurant/office set-ups where most networking occurs.

Five. Hiking is a fantastic way of indirectly supporting the local community. Many people depend on these natural landmarks such as the mountain to bring in tourists and hikers that generate revenues to their communities. Many guides and trail managers also benefit through direct employment at these sites so hikers contribute to sustaining these communities and their people. It is also a chance to highlight stunning African landscapes that might otherwise go un-noticed. Who doesn’t love contributing to noble causes? Very strange people that’s who.

Six. I hike because it is a good activity for bonding and spending quality time with loved ones. On this particular hike, I went with my family and it was an easy way to stimulate some good family connections and to make a life-long memory. If you are looking for a unique activity for family fun or a different way to connect with a loved one/ (s), you absolutely should consider a hike together! See yaaaa on the next hike. Check out the calendar on our homepage for a list of all the upcoming Sunny Outdoors Hikes!!