The Urban Hike

Firstly, I would like to apologise for not adding to this blog for quite a while. It was in part writers block, being busy with work and family and the rest just being lazy. So with the blog rebooted for 2016 I’m going to kick it off with what I’m titling as the urban hike.

I’ve written in the past about hiking through areas that are on our doorstep. Just to get out of the house and breath in the fresh air is a good way to relieve the stress of everyday life, which is increasingly becoming virtual as we rarely raise our heads above the parapet of our smart devices.

“our cocoon of transportation which
encases us in a womb of steel”

I tend to drag my family along on day hikes just off the event horizon of cities and towns, giving my children the illusion of being in the wild back country. Although my eldest daughter refuses to come along, the rest of us enjoy a day away from society for a few hours.

IMG-20160102-WA0000-01It’s amazing how memories are made just by walking, talking and listening to the wildlife and each other. The moment you stop to drink and eat to the point where your legs begin to ache along the trails. Surprisingly, the achievement your children feel from completing a small adventure resonates throughout the lives and possibly stories are passed on to their children. What also surprises me is the endurance and energy children have walking long distances and bearing up to the adverse weather conditions.

It was soon after Christmas that my car was being used by Kate while she was training to be a supervisor for Lloyd’s Pharmacy and then it had to go for a service and MOT. I was without my car for a week. How would we cope? The children were hyperventilating at the prospect of having to walk to and from School. How will I collect my car from Toyota? By local transport? No, I hate local transport. I prefer my own space rather than someone coughing on me and invading my personal bubble. It was a testament to how lazy we have become. How anti-social and insular our cocoon of transportation which encases us in a womb of steel has made us avoid other people.  Even a short trip to the local shops had become a car journey.

“I remember a time we had a novel way of getting from one place to another. I remember as a child being taken everywhere by this mode of transport” I said. “What’s that Dad?” my youngest said. “Walking!” I replied. Moans filled the room with grumbles of “it’s too far to walk”.

Once I had explained that it was less than we would walk in a single short hike spread over the week and it was sort of training towards longer hikes, I had (almost) everybody agreeing that it was in the realms of mankind to make such epic trips on their own two legs.

By the end of the week however, even I was ready to hug my car. Something about walking along streets to make an appointment to be on time for school was not as enjoyable as our trips out as a family on the trails. Maybe it was the time constraints. No time to stop and smell the flowers if you like. Maybe the sights were uninspiring. After all we see them everyday. Maybe it was the confinement of not seeing wide expanses of fields and hillsides. I’m not sure….actually that’s exactly what it was. The point of enjoying a walk is to be untethered from the normal chains of life and feel free. Even if it is for just a few hours.

IMG-20160102-WA0007-01Have we gone back to using the car for every journey? Well for now we use it a lot less. What did I get from this? Well, I’m aware I’m happier in a rural setting. I’ve walked more often in the countryside and along canals just for the hell of it. I’ve enjoyed it and felt fitter. I have even lost weight! All in all that can’t be bad.  Will I do another urban hike? Probably not. I need to escape the confines of the digital, industrial and social aspect of urban life once in a while. I wonder what your thoughts and experiences are. Do you hike and do you prefer urban or rural hikes?





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