Ever since I can remember, hiking has been a part of my life. Climbing mountains is a way to see the world from way up high where even the mark of mankind isn’t quite able to parallel the constructs which have arisen solely from the earth itself. The first time I climbed Scafell Pike was when I was seven years old, I stood at the top for a whole moment as the tallest person in England. Looking out across the world from there, everything seemed still and small and perfect. It felt like there was some sort of energy radiating from every dandelion which grew up between the boulders, enough to encourage the thought in my head that impossible things can happen. Not so impossible that I could have raised my arms then and there to fly out across the peaks, my arms brushing their trigpoints as I went, but enough to remind me that I had walked 12 miles in less than a few hours and at first that alone had seemed impossible. From that day on, every time I was faced with the challenge of a new route or an unfamiliar hike I approached it with an open mind and a sense of possibility.
Whilst that was the first thing that hiking taught me, it didn’t stop at that. Of the many views that I have seen, every single one has made evident that the world is a complex place full of diversity and vibrancy which is what makes it so exciting. It is why we pine to head to every country we’ll never live in and to learn languages, read great books and find remnants of times long past. You can learn that from the end of a journey more succinctly, I think. In August 2012 when I was at the top of Great Gable, the world below was like nothing I’d ever seen. That was solely because I was lucky enough to be there at sunset and that is something I most likely will never see in exactly the same format again in my life time. Just as Monet painted one cathedral in so many different stages of the day, so too can a single view be completely golden as it was at that sunset. It was as though everything had just been dipped in honey and hung out to dry. Everytime I remember this it reminds me that, even when treading a familiar path, the end product is never guaranteed.: You can never be quire sure what you’ll find. But what this doesn’t mean is that the walk wasn’t worth it. It simply means that you got your own result; something you alone define as good or bad.
Finally, and most importantly, hiking has taught me that resilience means absolutely everything. I have walked through hail, gales and lightning. In fact, those difficult walks are always the most fun to look back on because they stand out so vividly when I remember them. Whole days spent in the fog become enjoyable if you approach them with a compass, a map and some good company because it is an adventure. And adventures aren’t easy, they’re full of random things you could never have predicted that you learn to adapt to. Hiking means facing things head on in order to overcome obstacles to the best ability and keep on track. Like I previously mentioned, your end result will always be worth it if you let it be but what is far more important is the journey itself. Wainwright will vouch for this as he was always writing about just jumping into the puddles and getting your walking boots soaked head on, because then there is no need for avoidance after that. Jumping into the mud can be messy, and there is always a risk with a boulder field or a steep section that you’ll slip. But so long as you know the only thing that matters is getting back up again to keep going, that is all that matters.