I had been following a group of travelling girls on Twitter for a while before joining them on the trails this year.
I started with Sleeping Warrior, went on to Kijabe and then hiked Rurimeria Hills recently. While these are not many, going on hiking trips is growing on me, enough to write an article on the benefits of hiking! Rurimeria was cold and the descent was a bit nicer compared to past hiking trips. Descending Kijabe hills meant abseiling a waterfall and that was a first for me and a bit scary! Nonetheless, I continue to explore Kenya.
Each hill comes with its unique challenges and beauty! Sleeping warrior was hot, Kijabe was steep and Rurimeria sucked all the oxygen with the high altitude.
Here are 10 Benefits of Hiking:
1. The Early Morning Drive
The early morning drive to the hill(s) of choice is very therapeutic. Normally, hiking groups leave Nairobi at around 4:45 am so as to get a head start before the sun rises. On our way to Rurimeria, we were able to catch the sunrise in a very foggy morning which was beautiful. The sun was yet to shine and resembled the moon.
2. The Beginner Trails at the foot of the Hills
Depending on the level of difficulty, I find these trails soothing as you branch into the forest. You’re getting used to the terrain, and the trail feels easy to your body unless you’re hiking the Aberdare Ranges where the altitude caps the oxygen from the start.
3. Making New Friends
I started hiking by following hiking girls on Twitter and meet these girls whenever I’m on the trails. Making friends while hiking is great as you can pace each other, and it’s always refreshing to meet them unexpectedly on the trails again.
4. The Views are Amazing
The higher you go, the better the views!
I got to see waterfalls, MAU MAU caves and trails while hiking Kijabe hills. The mountain vegetation, heath and moorland at Rurmeria hills was a great experience for me. It felt like I was living my primary school social studies book!
Hiking gives you the opportunity to interact with nature and enjoy nature at your own pace.
5. Hiking is an Affordable Way of Touring your Country
Every hiking trip is a window into what Kenya has to offer as a country. You also get to see other communities away from your own community and way of living. If you’re like me, you find it hard to travel to places where you don’t know people or have no business to attend to in said places.
Hiking is the perfect excuse. Some places are also impenetrable and less inhabited than others but offer amazing views and a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
6. It’s Great for those Struggling with Anxiety
Another great benefit of hiking for me was helping me conquer anxiety. When hiking, your whole body is focused on the trail and the next step. This makes hiking a very meditative and relaxing experience. Additionally, conquering steep or rocky trails makes your body and your mind more resilient. While I do not advocate difficult trails to help with anxiety, simple and moderate trails can help calm your mind.
7. Hiking is a Cheaper form of Travel
Apart from the initial hiking gear investment, hiking is cheaper compared to other forms of travel. Once you have hiking gear and equipment, the other costs would be travelling and snacks costs which is not much.
Initially, you’ll need:
- A pair of hiking boots.
- Hiking clothes ie, tights, sweatshirt waterproof pants, cargo pants, raincoat and one change of clothes.
- Hiking bag and hiking pole.
Purchase these items and you’re ready for your first trip.
8. It’s a Great form of Exercise
Hiking will work up your glutes, quads, hamstrings and other interconnected muscles, especially if the trails are moderate to difficult trails. While it will take you a couple of days for your muscles to feel ‘whole’ again’, this exercise is a welcome break for people who work in offices or spend most of their time seated, hunched over a laptop.
9. Hiking makes You Comfortable with Travel
For those of you who spend time travelling through the videos, pictures and YouTube videos of other people, hiking is a great way to start travelling. Planning an itinerary, shopping for necessities way before the hike, are some of the experiences hiking gives you.
If you have always wanted to travel but never had a chance, start hiking and explore what your country has to offer.
10. Travel makes you Interesting
The difficulties encountered makes for interesting tales!
Abseiling Kijabe hills was one the most difficult thing I’ve had to do while hiking. I see many hikers rock climbing and being adventurous and while I’m not yet at that level, I think that takes a great deal of commitment to hiking. And makes for interesting tales!
These are the benefits of hiking as told by a Kenyan hiker. If you’ve reached this part of the article, maybe it’s time to consider planning a hiking trip!