Why Hiking Matters

Nature Deficit Disorder noun 1. The human cost of alienation from nature.

Okay, it’s not actually in the dictionary… yet. The term was coined by journalist Richard Louv in his modern classic study Last Child in the Woods to describe the negative effects of a steep, one-generation slide in children’s exposure to the natural world. Louv points to the obvious reasons: safety concerns and the electronic communications that have turned childhood play inside out.

What we once introduced to each other, child to child, is now a task for teachers and parents (and grandparents, aunts and uncles). Time spent in nature creates connections not only with rocks, plants and creatures, but with science, history, art, literature, and with each other. And for grownups? “Peace,” “clarity,” “feeling alive,” are just some of the things that hikers say they get from their time in the woods.

Hiking matters because it takes us out of ourselves and connects us to the natural world, the parts of life we often forget about. When we lose that enriching perspective, we lose a little bit of ourselves.

Hiking moves a person through different habitats with various ecosystems. This is really the best way to see and experience the diversity of the natural world, by being right in the midst of it. Creative thinking happens while walking or hiking. It allows you to de-clutter and flow more like a stream.

Hiking with your children creates lasting memories for your family, lasting relationships with nature and builds a deep understanding of the world around you. The most valuable aspect of hiking with your children is that you do not have to do anything. Nature will take care of the experience.

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