Any foul mood can be fixed with a bit of hiking. A jaunty trot through nature gives you fresh air and some exercise, but, more importantly, it means you get to tell people you went hiking. And what could perk us up more than a little gloating about how fit and one-with-nature we are?
Whatever your reasons for taking a hike, the benefits speak for themselves. Compared to those urban walking chumps, studies have found that people who walk in nature experience less anxiety and more positive emotions. Don’t mind if I do!
Considering Mother Nature keeps us together when we’re one annoying email away from crying, we should return the favour and keep her intact, too. Tit for tat and all that.
So, when you hit the trails next, keep the below in mind to give our planet some extra love.
Stay on track
Hiking trails are already disturbed patches of nature, so don’t go off the beaten track to stomp all over untouched vegetation. Plan your hikes around proper trails and don’t try to be Bear Grylls, no matter how tempted you are.
The same goes for if your leisurely hike turns into a multi-day adventure. Only camp in actual campsites and avoid lighting fires.
Consider your gear
If you’re only just turning hiking into your personality, don’t get excited and buy all the gear you can get your hands on. Take a breather. Just like your fancy fashion, consider where you pick up your threads.
Some of your essential gear — warm jackets, boots and bags — is still made specifically for hikers, while being good for the planet too. Hit up Merrell for the Moab 3 hiking shoes — they’re available in waterproof versions, are comfortable for trekking outside, plus they’re made from recycled components!
Don’t take a thing
Remember those ugly-as-hell rock stacks that were a hit a while ago? Yeah, get your mitts off them. And while we’re on the topic, no snatching sweet mementos like flowers or rocks to take home, either.
You’re already trampling through, so don’t mess with the area any more than you are. Take a picture, it’ll last longer!
Leave without a trace
We shouldn’t take anything, but we also shouldn’t leave anything.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t litter on your hike. But that means leave nothing — if your dog came along for the ride, pick up their poo and don’t chuck something you think will disintegrate. Plan ahead and bring a bag with lots of pockets like this Trailhead Topload Backpack so you can stash any rubbish somewhere along the way. Afterwards, divvy up the rubbish and recycling to get rid of it properly.
Hell, go the extra mile and pick up any litter you see lying on the trail.
There’s more to loving the planet than soaking up its beauty. It might feel nice ‘n natural but we can do more to keep her intact.
Grab your hiking boots and start running (read: slowly strolling) up that hill.Image: Stranger Things