Why I Hike - By dan snyder

The power of nature is a vast well of healing force. Since the dawn of time it has provided everything to nurture the body and spirit. I look at nature as a conduit to the dominating force, a channel to a higher power. Life is constant teetering, a seesaw if you will. Hiking through nature levels the playing field internally. Internal balance allows me to be at peace with my body while my thoughts and emotions become silent. When thoughts and emotions become silent, energy can now be entirely directed to the healing process. I will be hiking in the Adirondacks, where I grew up and where I have lived for the past 27 years.

Q: How would you describe the rhythm of hiking?

A: At first, like any marathoner will tell you, it’s that first section where you’re disjointed, you’re trying to find that groove. You get tired, you have doubts and then bam ! it kicks in like your drummer coming in on the backbeat.

Q: How would you describe the benefits to living in accordance with the rhythms of nature?

A: That falls into the category of balance. When I’m in the deep woods, miles away from anything it’s imperative to be in accordance with the rhythm of nature or else you could get injured and that would be disastrous . The positive benefit is what nature is giving to you, if you just allow it in.

Q: You described the repetitive and strenuous nature of the hike as a way of creating space in the brain, can you explain how that works and feels? 

A: In my earlier years I worked labor, hard and long hours. The only way to get through a 20 hour day was to get into the rhythm and not fight it. The endorphins kick in and you start feeling exhilarated. I raced the 90 mile Adirondack Canoe Classic and applied that knowledge. When I hike long distances the same applies and the same results. The bottom line is that exercise helps with the physical, mental and spiritual balance on this long journey known as cancer.