Thoughts on Slow Hiking?
Over the past few months I've been practicing something I call slow hiking.
I've noticed over the past few years I've become too obsessed with metrics. Distance, pace, elevation, photos, etc. It's almost as if my watch at the map app have become more important than the hike itself. Hikes started becoming another way to be productive or simply accomplish a task.
I've found that, as I've gotten older, my hikes have become super planned out and manicured. I would only hike summits and ignore smaller nature preserves nearby, I'd focus too much on photos and miss out on the little intricacies of the environment.
Since noticing this, I've been slowing down my mindset. Recently I decided to go back to doing what I did as a kid: wandering in patches of woods with no real plan whatsoever. Hiking shorter distances, paying more attention to my environment, not worrying about pace or getting epic views (of course, I still love views lol). Basically I'm just trying to be more mindful about my hikes and get out of my head a bit. Focus on the experience for the sake of it and not rush through just to say I hit a summit or completed a trail.
In the age of digital tracking technology and social media, has anyone else felt this tension between enjoying the hike for the sake of it and making it "productive"? What have your experiences been like with this mindset? Have you also felt the need to be more mindful and calm about your hikes? Or have you also felt some weird external pressure connected to your adventures?
Maybe it's just me, lol.
I think it's an interesting conversation and I'd love to know what your experiences have been!