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The Rat Race Can Take Over Our Lives – But Only If We Let It!


Looking For Some “Downtime” From The Rat Race? A Hiking Adventure Can Provide Just What You Need.

There’s no pressure from a boss, no deadlines to meet, no bills to pay, etc. If you choose to hike alone, you get to make all of the decisions…where you’ll go hiking, for how long, when to stop to eat, when and where to rest along the way or for the night and so on.

While you may not be able to make 100% of the decisions when hiking with your family, the bonding experience will be so rewarding and it will more than outweigh the little bit of compromising you may have to do.

As they say in Australia, “No rules, just right”.

Once you have decided to skip the daily pressures of your work life, it’s time to think about what experiences you want to have during your time off.

For the purposes of this article, we will assume that you want to spend at least some of your time off, hiking.

What Is Your Purpose For Hiking?


Your purpose for hiking can change from year to year.

Below, you will see a list of some of the more popular reasons people go hiking.

This list may help you in the planning stages of your next hike. You may pick as many goals as you like from the list and you can add in some other goals of your own, too!

Identifying your goals will help you decide where you want to go in order to fulfill some or all of the goals you have chosen.

If you have multiple goals, it may take some strategic planning to find a location to achieve all of them on one hike.

If you can’t find a hike that will let you experience every goal in one hike, then just choose the most important goal(s) for this particular hike.

Keep the rest of the goals you wrote down to refer back to when planning a future trip.

List Of Goals


Under each goal are some thoughts that may be helpful when you are planning next trip.


Goal: Breathing In Some Fresh Air

Hiker Breathing Mountain Fresh Air

Hiking In The Mountains To Breath Fresh Air

  1. Choose a location where there’s no smog, no car or truck exhaust fumes, no industrial pollution and no crop dusting.


  1. To catch some refreshing cooling breezes, look for a ridgeline trail.


  1. Rainstorms are nature’s way of cleaning the air. To enjoy some nice, fresh air, consider hiking right after a rainstorm.

Goal: To Get A Glimpse Of The Wild Life In The Area (while maintaining a safe distance, of course)


Wildlife Drinking From River

Bears Drinking From River


  1. At dawn and again at dusk, animals actively seek water from the rivers and lakes. If you wait patiently at those times, you will have your best chance to see the wildlife in the area.


  1. Animals are usually more visible near clearings or near the edges of meadows.


  1. If you want to see animals seek out and compete for mates, hike in the fall. If you want to see newborns, hike in the spring.

Goal: To Become Fit or To Maintain Fitness


  1. Look for trails that have notable elevation changes.


  1. Use a GPS or a pedometer to record your speed and to track your progress.


  1. If you are looking to burn extra calories, you can add more weight to your backpack.


  1. To get some arm exercise in too, you can use trekking poles.

Goal: Taking Great Photos

Photography At Dusk



  1. To enhance color and contrasts, take your photos in low-angled light at dawn or dusk.


  1. When looking for just the right shot, try to find something that catches your eye, such as a tree silhouette or a reflection on a nearby body of water.


  1. You can’t just stand in one spot and expect the perfect shot to come to you. Walk around. If you see something that looks interesting, get the shot right away. If there’s an animal who might walk away, you don’t miss out on it. Then look at the same spot from different perspectives. If you feel you can get a better picture from another angle, take that, too.

Goal: Being Near Water

Hiking Trail Near River

Hiking Trail Near River


  1. Fall and winter are excellent times of the year to hike to an area with a hot spring.


  1. Hiking to a swimming hole, lake or waterfall is a great way to end the summer.


  1. Look for a trail that runs along a stream or a riverbank.

Goal: Feast Your Eyes On Scenic Views

Scenic Mountain View

Scenic Mountain View


  1. Look for hikes where there are fire towers, lookout points or bald peaks.


  1. Hiking to the summit of hills, mountains or exposed ridgelines will give you unobstructed and potentially, spectacular scenic views of the area.


  1. Plan a hike to an area where the fall foliage will surround you with the beauty of its brilliant colors.


  1. To get expansive views that you can’t see in the summer, hike in these areas when the trees are bare, usually in the late fall or in early spring,


Final Thoughts


Start thinking about your hiking goals, now!

You don’t need to wait until you have the exact dates of when you can go hiking, etched in stone on your calendar, (although it would be helpful to know what season you will be going).

Write down your goals – yes, on paper! Why?

  1. Because written goals can be displayed in places where you will have to see them every day. You can place these written goals such as the bathroom mirror or at your eye level on the refrigerator, steering wheel of your car, etc.

2. Your goals will be in your handwriting, which you will recognize. When the goals are written in your own handwriting, rather than typed, you will be reminded that these are YOUR goal, not some abstract thing that isn't deserving of your attention.

3. The visual queue will remind you to work on making the arrangements.


Here's your first step to reaching your goals: Start Writing!



Please click on the link below to read another interesting article from The Joy Of Hiking.

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