Several years ago, after nearly three decades of playing golf, I traded in my spikes for hiking boots and decided to hit the trail. Mark Twain is credited as saying "Golf is a good walk spoiled" and I agree. Like many, I had a love/hate relationship with golf. While golf can be a relaxing outlet for many, it can also be the most frustrating four hours of your day.
Hiking, on the other hand, has never messed with my mind like that.
As soon as I swapped my clubs for my Oboz, something lovely happened. I realized that following trails led me to some of the most beautiful and breath-taking views on earth. Hiking also took me back to my childhood, flooding my memory with recollections of trips I'd taken long ago with my father.
But my choice wasn't all aesthetic—at least not initially. The main reason I gave up golf for hiking was because I wanted to lose weight. Walking vigorously was a good start. Walking vigorously through nature was fun. One year and thirty lost pounds later, I'd become relatively addicted to hiking.
John Muir said, "In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." That's' just how I feel when I'm walking the trail. While hiking is my exercise of choice it's also my time for contemplation. Hiking helps bring clarity and creativity to my thoughts.A recent study at Stanford University found that creativity levels increased by up to 60% for those that were walking versus those that were sitting at a desk. That's absolutely true when I'm out on the trail. I always carry a notepad and pen and will very often stop to make some notes for fear that I'll forget my train of thought before I got back to my laptop.
Depending on the type of hike or activity I set out on, I have a stable of OBOZ boots to chose from. When I'm going to be doing more difficult trails carrying backpack or snowshoeing, I typically wear my Wind River IIs or Yellowstones. If I'm just putting miles in with a light pack and doing a day hike I like to wear my Switchbacks or Teewinots.
I truly did enjoy my years on the golf course, but I'm healthier and a lot less frustrated now that I've reconnected with the trail. And, as fate would have it, I have several friends who have experienced the same change and have taken up hiking again. So, while I might not have a foursome for golf, I do have a foursome for our backpacking adventures.