My partner and I went hiking yesterday in the Cascades off I-90. It was beautiful, the trees are brilliant yellows, reds and green. It was overcast but that just makes the colors stand out more.
While walking I realized how much gets processed and how amazing it is to just be. There were quite a lot of people around, didn't see them, just heard them and it made me realize how utterly noisy we are as creatures. We have lost our sense of balance in nature and it seems to compensate we create noise. I almost always hike in silence. I stop often and point out small flowers, or places where there are 6 colors of moss and lichens, or a red leaf on a rock by the creek, but I point and smile, I don't yell.
There was this quote I once read and have lost track of but essential it said, "there is no problem in my life I cannot walk away from." I love this for it's metaphysical and physical qualities. I have found in my own life this is true, any depression I have found myself in is healed by the simple act of walking, even just around the block. It's the getting up and starting that's the hard part.
I was reading the next book in this series Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. The author talks about adding a weekly walk to your routine. (She does morning pages and artist dates, in case you don't know here work.) She talks about the walk being a place where creative solution happens. For me walking is much like receiving a reflexology treatment, with the added benefit of being in nature. In reality it is a reflexology treatment. If you are wearing the correct shoes, your feet are being moved through all ranges of motion and your body is pumping blood and your feet are being worked by the earth, the tree roots, and the rocks you wander over. I recently read and article on hiking barefoot. I'm not sure I would recommend this activity to most of my clients, but someday I think I will have to try it myself, just for the experience and the extra reflexology you would receive.
Some quick thoughts on hiking shoes. Most are a gimmick and an unnecessary expense. Having said that yes I own a pair, but I also hike a lot and do some really tricky terrains and need some extra ankle support on talus slopes. If you are doing well maintained trails, without huge shifts in terrain your normal tennis shoes or my favorite, Blundstones (Australian for boot), are perfect. If you want the hiking boots, here are my guidelines for a good pair. There must be room in the toe box so you can spread your toes and feel more grounded when walking on rocks, tree trunks, and in slippery or mucky ground. There can't be and excessive mount of room or on steep slopes downhill for an extended period of time you will jam your toes (head reflex) repeatedly and also potentially get blisters on your heel (pelvic/ low back reflex) You must be able to tie the shoe around your foot without pinching, but it must tie snugly so your foot doesn't slip forwards or back causing callousing and blisters. It must be flexible in the arch, not the toe, the arch YES I am serious, you should get some movement in the shoe. The only exception to this rule is if these are boot that you will attach crampon (ice climbing metal spiky things). It is also really nice to have water resistant shoes. In recent testing conducted by me at the local REI there were 10 plus types of hiking shoe/ boot and only one brand fit these criteria. My partner and I have been long time fans of these shoes for outdoor use and if they ever go out of business we will cry. My favorite hiking shoes are made by Vasque but Merrill does ok as well.
"walking should be and effortless exercise" states Wickler, a man whose research we quote often in our foot pain classes at Seattle Reflexology. A podiatrist was once asked what the best exercise for the feet is and he stated there is no comparison to walking. Walk as much as you can, for as long as you can." There will be much more on walking and shoes in the days to come.
Get out, take a walk, enjoy nature and solve all your problems with simple exercise.
Oh and here is the third book in the artist way series that I was referring too Walking in this World