Reasons to Hike #6: Socializing, Bonding, Human Interaction



I didn’t expect such human interactions in the wilderness, nor did I want it. In this busy life, I have always entered the sanctity of God’s creation in awe and with nothing on my lips but silent praise. But that day, I sacrificed my dogmatic adherence to the John Muir-esque mantra of solitude…

San Gabriel Valley Tribune writer Steve Scauzillo penned an article about a hiking trip he partook with his son, Andy. He expected father-son bonding among a wide natural fortress of solitude. Although they chatted about usual stuff—music, career, life, etc.—the excursion detoured around both of their predictions.

Steve and Andy encountered another father-son duo. Steve inquired about a trail to a nearby trail. The other father and son pair were trailing Steve and Andy and wondered about the same hiking path. Altogether they walked down the same path, unsure which exact direction to advance, especially since the other father’s GPS app failed (old-fashioned navigation usually works best :) ).

Then the group met with a mother and 11-year old son, whom also intended to visit the cave. The little kid was a chief boy scout and led the adults down a “steep slope of purple sage and California buckwheat.” After hiking the fire road they arrived at the cave, named the Cave of Munits. Climbing up was easy for them. Once again they encountered another hiker, a young man who was “twisted down backward but suspended mid-drop.” The group helped him backup. Then another man started talking to the group. The guy pointed upwards, told the group his friends were up there, and started scrambling upwards. “He just wanted to tell someone that.”

Although hiking is presented as “alone time,” moments for connecting with other human beings and meeting diverse people pop-up in unexpecting ways. If you’re feeling anti-social, spend some time outdoors and don’t have a fear of saying “hello.”

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