Top 5 Reasons to Hike

(and Top 5 Downsides of Hiking)

ihikebc staff version

We have been hiking for many years and, God willing, will hike for many years to come. Such a blessing to live in British Columbia, with way too many trails for just a lifetime of exploration. Like just about any recreational activity, hiking has its advantages, and disadvantages, its pros and cons. Below are our five top reasons to hike, and five main downsides of hiking. As always, this site is for entertainment only, and one would be wise to be properly prepared and employ common sense while venturing into the wilderness.

Our Top 5 Reasons to Hike:

1. Get away from it all – clear your mind.

 These days, numerous gadgets, ever-present Internet, TV, radio, and people at work, on the streets, and in other places create way too much artificial noise and often prevent our mind from being at peace. Hiking, especially in quiet, solitary places, allows for a break from all of that.

Get Away from it all - Mount Outram Hike Trip Report

2. Discover natural beauty.

We have been on over a hundred of hikes and made over ten thousand photographs. Yet, there are still moments when the jaw drops both figuratively, and, sometimes, even literally, and an uncontrollable “wow” flies out. There are so many amazing natural views out there, that both your eyes and your soul would have plenty to feast on, no matter how long you hike.

Simply Amazing - Panorama Ridge Hike Trip Report

3. Exercise.

Going up and down mountain trails, and even walking on flat stretches, burns them calories. Hiking also strengthens legs, and, if you've got hiking poles, even the upper body. Hiking poles are also very handy for keeping balance and giving a break for your knees, especially on the way down.

This will burn some calories - Mount Lincoln Hike Trip Report

4. Develop mental toughness.

Your feet may be wet and tired, the backpack too heavy, the path too steep and too long, the sun too hot, the mosquitoes too brutal, and yet you keep on going. There was an episode we have witnessed, which is described in our Grouse Grind trip report, where a mother, in reply to her tired little son’s “how much longer?”, said matter-of-factly: “About forty minutes. On you go.” Won’t grow up a sissy boy, will he?

Not for sissy boys - Grouse Grind Hike Trip Report

5. Have something to look forward to.

The daily routine can get dreary, especially in the dead of winter. Looking at those thousands of photographs and anticipating the next hiking season makes it that much easier.

One of the thousands of photographs - Windfall Lake Hike Trip Report


Our Top 5 Downsides of Hiking:

1. Injuries.

By far, the worst downside of hiking is getting hurt. Over the years, we have tripped and fell numerous times, lost a fair bit of skin, sprained a shoulder, suffered countless cuts to hands and feet, developed a long-term knee pain (which took several years to heal) from running downhill (bad idea), had tree branches try to whack our eyes, and even bloodied our mouth several times after tripping and falling forward onto a hiking pole stuck in the ground where we placed it half a second earlier. There were three very dangerous falls backwards onto stones. Numerous rolled ankles. Several slips on wet stones, resulting in unplanned creek-dipping sessions. There was also an unforgettable slide for 30 meters down a steep incline next to a waterfall, and the subsequent slamming feet-first into the stones below. A dry tree branch once fell down like a missile about ten meters away from where we were hiking. Good times.

Other non-exclusive threats to your health and well-being while hiking include: mosquitoes, ticks, sunburn, dehydration and hypothermia.

Some folks might also have a medical condition, which would make it unsafe for them to hike. If unsure, check with your doctor.

We slipped, fell, slid for 30 meters, and slammed into the stones near a waterfall - Schoolhouse Falls WEST Trip Report

2. Expense.

Our biggest expense is gasoline. Getting to trails and back can get quite expensive. Quality hiking gear costs a pretty penny too: breathable odour-resistant top layers, hiking boots, hiking poles, hiking socks, emergency supplies, etc.

Driving to Bear Mountain - Bear Mountain Hike Trip Report

3. Time.

It takes time getting to and from the trails, and hiking itself can be very time-consuming.

It took almost 14 hours - Monkman Falls Hike Trip Report

4. Getting lost.

Now that we have a GPS, this isn’t much of an issue, and it has never been a major issue prior to that, but getting lost on the way back, even if for a few minutes, had been a less than pleasant experience.

It would be hard to get lost here - Joffre Lakes Hike Trip Report

5. Bears. 

Bears are awesome animals, and chances are extremely high that a bear would be much more scared of a hiker, than the other way around. Yet, there are news reports every year of bears attacking people in the wilderness. That said, the chance of such an attack is much smaller than a chance of getting seriously hurt in some other way.

This mama bear looks cute, but all bears are potentially very dangerous - Be Bear Aware (external site) Top 5 Reasons to Hike (And Top 5 Downsides of Hiking)