What I've Learned Hiking for the First Time at 25
Before spring/summer of last year, I'd never gone on a proper hike before. This fact seems to shock a lot of people, but I think people forget that a lot of minorities grow up without access, opportunity, time or exposure to that type of outdoor recreation. As a first? Or second? Generation Asian American, my single mom of three often worked long hours and multiple jobs, so my siblings and I were raised by television. I also feel like if your family or circle of peers don't hike, it's unlikely you would either as a kid. I have a friend who said she didn't hike for the first time until she went to college and was invited along with her white sorority sisters.
Anyway, all this to say that I was introduced to hiking later than most. At the ripe old age of 25. But I took a liking to it immediately and my boyfriend and I have been counting down the days until hiking season is here again. With that, there are a few takeaways I've gained in my limited and late bloomer hiking experience.
1. I am mighty and I am small.
The very first hike I ventured on with my hiking veteran boyfriend was moderate in difficulty, which set the bar for the rest of our hikes. Because I was already working out regularly, it put me in a good position to complete and still feel challenged by this hike. Every hike we took on left me feeling incredibly strong and in awe of what my body was capable of doing. Buuut, being so high up and surround by the expanse of nature also made me feel humble and extremely mortal.
2. People are nice!
Yes, there will always be assholes. The people who litter and the groups of teens who blast music on the trail, but I loved observing and participating in hiking etiquette. You say hello to everyone you encounter on the trail and take part in little pleasantries. It's nice!
3. It's a natural trip.
You know the types of thoughts you have and the things you say in a drug- or alcohol-induced state that is sometimes deep and usually not so interesting after the fact? You have A LOT of thought-provoking and kick-the-can conversations with your hiking buddy. These are some of my favorite conversations I've had with my boyfriend. Even healing!
4. It's a fun dressing moment.
I rather enjoyed putting together looks that perfectly married form and function. It's normcore dressing at it's best.
5. I get to eat greasy food post-hike.
Another fun conversation topic during the hike is what meal we want to indulge in afterward. Usually by the descent, we've worked up a Hungry Man-sized appetite and burned high triple digits and possibly even four-digit calories. I love dreaming about pizza and burgers as we make our way down the mountain and feeling like we really earned it.
As I emotionally and physically prepare myself for our upcoming hiking season, I'm also keeping my eye out for a few new additions to my hiking wardrobe.