What Makes Hiking Fun?

Moderate hikers on a snack and photo stop inside South Mountain: front row (left to right): Joan Carlisle and Ron Deraas; middle row: Chip Bortnem, DeEtte Faith, Warren Wasescha, Dawn B., Betty Lawless, Tim Donovan, Stu Frost, Scott Downey; top of the rock: Paul Feeney

Warren Wasescha

A group of us were hiking in South Mountain the other day and stopped for a snack break and photo. Everyone was in a great mood, as were the other hikers we passed along the way. I started to reflect on what makes hiking fun, as well as asking a few hiking friends for their perspectives.

Foremost, hiking lets you see the natural beauty of the metro area, and it’s more varied than one might think. What makes South Mountain beautiful is very different from what makes the Superstitions or the White Tank Mountains or the McDowell Mountains beautiful. Each has its own unique signature geological structures, and each amaze you in a very different way when you hike their trails.

Hiking disconnects you from our regular routine and all the distractions that come with it. Somehow it becomes less important to answer a cell call or worry about things when you’re on a trail.

It can be a shared social experience with others, and it can also be a meditative solo experience to be in nature. Depending on the day, it can be great to connect with other hikers and get caught up on their lives, or it can be great to unplug and just be in nature to contemplate the beauty of it all.

For some, it’s that sense of achievement that happens when a new milestone has been reached in terms of distance or elevation gain. Fitbits and Apple watches and Garmin GPS devices all challenge us to hike a bit longer or higher and see the progress made.

For others, it’s a great alternative to the sometimes drudgery experience of walking on a treadmill or using an elliptical inside a gym. And for some, hiking in nature helps calm themselves, resulting in better moods.

And still others find that hiking, like any activity, makes them a more interesting person than someone who doesn’t get out enough to enjoy the world. Nothing finer than sharing the story of a particularly good hike or sharing the photos that were taken that day atop a mountain looking off into the distance.

Thinking about joining the Sun Lakes Hiking Club to discover the fun of hiking? We’d love to have you be part of our club. We are a friendly, inclusive group of hikers who welcome all able-bodied hikers. Our goal is to make group hiking fun, challenging, social, and safe.

All upcoming and past hikes, along with information about our club, can be viewed on our Meetup site. Just type “Sun Lakes Hiking Club” into your web browser to locate us. Questions not found on our Meetup site? Please reach out to our president DeEtte Faith at [email protected]

We look forward to hiking with you!