I’ve been on a bit of a high lately as I’ve found something that I really love doing – hiking.
I already wrote a post about my 26 mile hike in July. I explained a little bit about how and why I started doing it. I wanted to talk a little more about HOW I FEEL when I’m out hiking.
There is nothing quite like the feeling when I’ve got my rucksack all packed up – I have a list which I am constantly adding to. For instance after my last long walk – 10 miles – I needed to have a wee in a bush (sorry if TMI) so I decided there and then to pack both toilet paper and poo bags (these have the dual purpose of being for when I’m out with the pup and he does his business and also means I have something I can put my toilet paper in after I’ve had to have a wee on the go – not for my poo cos that would be gross and I would try to avoid doing that in the bushes if at all possible!!!!). Here is a pic of my list:
The above is my “Pack for walk on my own” list. I also have a list for “Walks with dog” and one for “Walks with kids” as obviously each type demands different supplies. If you know me, you know I love to be organised and I hate forgetting things!
So when I set out on the road, I get a sense of freedom and a sense of purpose that I maybe don’t get in other areas of my life. At the moment, in my business as a virtual assistant, I don’t have enough clients as I recently lost a client and I’ve not yet replaced him. But when I’m walking I don’t have to worry about that. I don’t have to worry about how I look or what anyone thinks of me. It is just me, my feet and my route. And the beautiful views that I see along my way. It really is very therapeutic and I wish I’d discovered this years ago.
I know that a lot of people like to hike in groups, but personally I prefer to hike alone. For one, I can go at my own pace (which at the moment, being a complete beginner) is slower than other more seasoned hikers. Another reason I like to hike alone is that I am free to be with my thoughts, or as is often the case, not in my thoughts. When I’m on the road (or dirt track) there is nothing to worry about. There is no stress or expectation. It is just me, my feet and legs, moving forwards.
I really have become addicted to it. Its funny, sometimes when I try to fit smaller walks into my week, its not quite as satisfying as when I have allowed myself all day to do a big hike. I’ve often found that I struggle more as well with the shorter walks. Maybe its because I know I have to fit it into a certain slot of time and then I’ve got to focus on work or other tasks. When you have all day to complete something it is easier to give it your entire focus.
On Saturday I did my biggest hike yet. I walked 15 miles from my house in Farnham, to the start of the North Downs Way route near the station in Farnham and then followed this route all the way to the centre of Guildford. It took me a total of 5 hours and 49 minutes.
Here is a video flyover of the route along with some photos along the way:
Here are a few things I enjoyed most about my hike on Saturday:
- It was a big achievement to have hiked 15 miles
- I met some very nice people – including a married couple who were hiking the same route (we chatted over our sandwiches and while walking some of the way until they overtook me, but then I caught them up in a pub in Puttenham where I used the loo and they were stopping for a drink and then I left before them and they caught ME up), I also met a couple of groups of teenagers who were on an organised hike with their teachers (I assume), and I met a couple of young men/teenagers (not sure of age) who were burning some wood just at the start of my hike who I chatted to briefly and they were very surprised that I would be hiking the 15 miles to Guildford.
- Some of the views were amazing
- The route is mostly very well signposted so I didn’t have to worry about getting lost – although I did get lost towards the end as I came into Guildford and ended up climbing down a very steep wooded bank which was a bit scary, but once I got down I just followed the river and got to my destination
- I didn’t have to worry about getting home as I met up with a friend in Guildford for a much deserved pint!
A note before I go: I may not be blogging that much at the moment but I am posting on my Facebook page and also regularly on Instagram (often as I go) so feel free to follow me on either of those.
To finish off this post, here are a few pictures from the journey: