Bandaged and elevated, the foot of a friend rested on a chair in the row in front of her at church. I joined the group that surrounded her wanting to hear the story. Hiking plus rocks on an uneven path had taken a toll on her ankle. Ouch! No surgery needed, thank goodness. I jokingly said, “That’s why I do urban hiking.” The group laughed and asked, “Is there such a thing?”
Well, I looked it up and the answer is yes.
According to wisegeek.com “urban hiking is a form of hiking which takes place in an urban environment, rather than in nature. While on such a hiking expedition, people may explore points of interest around the city they hike in, find new and interesting places in the region, or stop for food in local eateries.”
Count me in!
Along with points of interest and eateries, smooth walking surfaces and ease are what attract me. I have hiked in nature and have come to realize much of the time was spent looking at the ground to keep from falling down and injuring myself. If the purpose of being in nature was to enjoy the scenery, then it was wasted on me. My view was of rocks and dirt.
Hike:a long walk. Synonyms-walk, trek, tramp, traipse, slog, plod, march
Ok, before you judge me, I do occasionally go hiking in nature, like in my recent post about walking with my dog. But even then, the path I was on was paved and easy. There have been other times I have hiked inthe wilderness. Check out Constant Companions. I even have photo evidence that I have walked up mountainsides. I don’t mind it, but I do find it challenging. A long walk in town still gives me what I need—fresh air and movement.
Urban hiking is a little more accessible and fits my level of endurance better. Many cities now have trails for hikers. Most have level paved surfaces and gentle elevation changes making it doable for nearly everyone. Just this week, my daughter and granddaughter joined me at a park just five minutes from my home in Guthrie, Oklahoma. It has a trail that winds alongside a small lake and through some wooded areas. This particular place has some history, too. Highland Park was established in 1890, one year after the city was settled in the Land Run of 1889. Pretty cool, don’t ya think?
The urban environment is different from remote hiking for sure but not without a few surprises. Instead of wildlife sightings, we saw a group of knights clothed in armor preparing for battle in one of the open spaces. There were also quite a few Frisbee golfers taking advantage of the park’s eighteen-hole course. They were serious competitors with golf bags and gear to prove it. Add kids playing on the playground with parents chatting on the benches, there was such a feeling of community to be found all while enjoying the exercise and sunshine.
I hope that next time you want to go trekking in the out-of-doors, you might consider a trail right in your own hometown. You never know what you might see.
In every walk with nature, one receives more than he seeks.