Take in deep breaths of oxygen-filled air and enjoy a chill walk in the mountains.
This is how most hiking stories look like, at least to beginners.
You’re surrounded by nature and calmness with every step you take further into the path.
But what do you do when things don’t go as expected? When there’s too much nature (to be read as wilderness) for things to be calm?
The Real Hiking Adventure
It’s fun to plan out the adventure – what you’ll be packing, where you’ll be stopping overnight, how many clothing items you’d need, etc.
Some other times, it’s quite an experience just to go out there and do it – no planning in advance, nothing. Only you and the trail.
That’s what some of these people did – and they did it gracefully. Read their hiking short stories and let yourself be inspired.
3 Amazing Stories for Hiking Inspiration
1. 90 Years Old Dick Dreselly’s Mount Washington Hike
For Dick Dreselly, hiking the world’s most dangerous small mountain (at least that’s what some of the hikers have called it) is a piece of cake.
In 2015, after turning 90 years old, Mr. Dreselly prepared himself for his last ascent to Mount Washington. His last one until his next one. He even told his wife she has no reason to worry because he brought a reporter and a photographer that would have had to “bring the body down.”
Mr. Dreselly carefully split his hike into a three-day journey, he changed his clothes and took on the challenge.
It wasn’t his first time climbing Mount Washington – he had done it the previous year. And for an experienced hiker (he and his wife had hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1999), he seemed to be pretty lucky.
He said it himself a couple of times while reaching for the peak. He was doing it because he was lucky to be able to hike that mountain at 90 years of age.
But, as the hours went by, and they were closer and closer to the mountaintop, he started thinking less of fortune or luck, and more of the real reason he was doing it – because he might not get another chance of doing it next year.
2. 74 Years Old Nan Reisinger’s Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike
Going hiking it’s an experience itself, but thru-hiking it’s closer to a lifestyle.
It involves months of hiking at a time, so you need to reinvent your everyday schedule because that’s all that you’ll be doing.
And the Appalachian Trail doesn’t seem very friendly, either. But for Nan Reisinger, it was one of the calls of nature – she just couldn’t stay away.
She and her friend, Carolyn, started their journey on March 30th on the South End of the Trail and arrived at the North End of the trail on October 4th. Why would they spend 6 months hiking?
Much like Mr. Dreselly above, they did it because they could. They were in good health, and hiking was one of their passions. Moreover, in the previous year, they could not complete the section trail on the Appalachian trail. So, this time, it was a challenge for them.
Luckily, they didn’t have to deal with injuries or other health-related conditions. Nan was kept from the trail for a week after hitting her knee on a rock, but she quickly recovered. Shortly after, Nan reunited with Carolyn, and they finished their race in the applause of their friends and family, who were waiting for them at the finish point.
3. Cheryl Strayed’s Wild Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail
This is probably one of the best-known hiking stories out there. Filled with purpose and meaning, Cheryl jumped in the adventure of her life with no backpacking experience and little knowledge about trails.
She went on this adventure hoping that she would discover herself and she would get an answer to all the questions a 26 years-old with an estranged family could have. Not only did the hike change her perception of life, but it did it in an amazing way.
All in all, the essence of the journey were the physical limits challenged and overcame, and the spiritual realizations that transformed her life for the better. She gave up heroin, which she started consuming after her mother’s death, and shortly after married the man of her dreams and had two children.
Her 1,100 miles adventure is presented in the memoir she published in 2012 – Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. All the highs and lows of her hike, as well as the recurrent life situations that fired her up to start hiking can be found in the book.
Hiking – the Reality versus the Movies
Many hiking stories are like the ones we presented above. Some have made it to the cinema (Cheryl’s book was adapted into a movie), while others made it to the local newspapers. But all of them were filled with purpose.
Each and every hiker that has created stories out of their journey pulled that through because they did it for themselves. They did it because they love hiking, nature, or anything that combines the two. They had a passion for it.
But you? How passionate are you about hiking?