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What is hiking?
The Johannesburg Hiking Club was requested to write an article for 20SomethingOnline a website for the youth.
There’s more to hiking than just putting one foot in front of the other. This you can do at home, at the office, a walk around the block … BUT … once you have experienced hiking, you will never look back.
Obviously one has to put one foot in front of the other, but with more effort, force, enthusiasm and enjoyment. Important is to have good hiking boots and wear two pairs of socks. These make for a more enjoyable hike. A certain degree of fitness is necessary.
Hiking alone in South Africa is usually a no no but there are several hiking clubs to choose from – pick one nearest to home. Camaraderie is part of hiking with a club. At night to sit around the camp fire and chatter about the day’s hiking events.
Hiking takes you into the country, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, where the air is clear, the environment interesting and the tranquility can be savoured. It is an extremely good de-stress activity. Its great to swim in a natural rock pool, or just relax those weary legs in the cool waters of a stream. Hiking requires perseverance to complete the route but the satisfaction at the end of the trail, cannot be put into words – it must be experienced. Although probably exhausted, the achievement is so gratifying that one bubbles inside with excitement.
Hiking can be enjoyed by all ages – only the length and difficulty of the hike would differ as well as the hiking speed. The Johannesburg Hiking Club caters for all fitness levels and age groups. Sunday hikes are divided into slow, medium minus, medium plus and fast groups, which means you pick a group according to your age and fitness level. The club also has a very active youthful hiking section, which is becoming very popular and this group is growing in size and popularity. Hiking is not a walk in the park, it means hiking over rough terrain, sometimes bundu bashing (not always paths or trails), it includes steep ascents which, once on the escarpment the way levels out and magnificent vistas can be enjoyed. The route has to be concluded so perseverance and stamina come in. The descent is often more difficult than the ascent as the strain is put on to the knees. Difficulties and successes are enjoyed not only by the individual but the whole group. Hiking is exhilarating and everyone, at some stage in their lives, should experience the highs, the lows, the enjoyment, the disappointment – whatever – but hiking is fantastic.
Don't just go out for a hike, stop and use your senses. We are privileged to be gifted with so many other aptitudes that we do not just have to use our legs when hiking.
Taste the sweetness of the crystal clear waters of the Magaliesberg or the bitterness of the stamvrug fruit. Please do not try any wild plant fruit unless you are absolutely sure you can identify the plant.