Do you love nature? Have you considered going for nature walks? If your answer is positive, I am sure you will love to go hiking! What is hiking? It is an outdoor activity, which involves walking in the natural environment. It is regarded as a part of mountaineering, which consists of walking, trekking, and climbing mountains as also hiking. It is a popular sport in many parts of the world and a hobby for many sport enthusiasts. Apart from offering many health benefits, hiking also serves as an excellent means of recreation. Where did this outdoor activity originate? Since when has hiking been practiced as a popular sport? Let us find out.
History of Hiking
There is no conclusive evidence about the exact year that witnessed the beginning of hiking. Otzi, the Iceman is believed to have climbed up the Alps about 5000 years ago. However, the first recorded trek was that of the Roman Emperor Hadrian to Etna, which is an active stratovolcano near Sicily.
The thirteenth century witnessed a few expeditions to various mountains around the world. Between the 1400s and 1500s, many people of the Inca Empire trod to the Andes for religious reasons. They are believed to have climbed the Llullaillaco peak, which is at a height of 6,379 meters. Perhaps, they also accomplished the feat of climbing Aconcagua, the highest peak of the Andes. Leonardo da Vinci is said to have ascended a snowfield in the vicinity of Mount Rosa.
One of the major events in the history of hiking was the ascent of Darby Field to Mount Washington located in New Hampshire. No major expeditions took place in the seventeenth century. An ascent to the snow mountain Titus was recorded in 1744. The later years saw a number of important mountain expeditions, which are some of the key events on the timeline of hiking. A team of mountaineers reached Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, in 1874. W.S. Green climbed the Southern Alps of New Zealand in 1882. The highest peak of the Andes is recorded to have been climbed in 1897 and 1898 was the year when the Grand Teton of the Rocky Mountains of North America was ascended. Mount McKinley was climbed in 1913.
The nineteenth century was witness to a couple of expeditions to the Himalayas. Gurkha sepoys trained in mountaineering activities were of great help in the exploration of the Asiatic mountains. The year 1953 marks one of the most important events in the history of mountaineering. It was on May 29 of that year that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest.
These were some of the important events in the glorious history of hiking. Let us look at some interesting facts about this sport.
Hiking, a part of mountaineering, is about walking in the company of nature. It is known by different names in different parts of the world. In the United Kingdom it is known as 'hill walking'. In Australia it is called 'bush walking' while it is known as 'tramping' in New Zealand. In the Indian and African continents, this sport is known by the name, 'trekking'.
Hiking offers many health benefits like controlled obesity and reduced risk of heart diseases. It helps the trekkers maintain good health. Threats to personal safety, property, attack by animals and physical injuries are some of the risks involved in hiking. They can be overcome by taking proper safety measures.
Hiking can be enjoyable only if proper safety precautions are taken. It is important for the hikers to wear comfortable and sturdy shoes. Wearing layered clothing can help the trekkers fight the changing weathers. Carrying a sufficient amount of water is advisable. Remember to start slowly and gradually pick up speed. Hiking can prove to be an endurance test! Watch out for dangerous animals and insects. Carry sleeping bags for a safe sleep. You might like to go through some more tips on hiking and camping.
The hikers should make sure that their enjoyment does not destroy nature. Large numbers of hikers gathering on popular hiking destinations cause severe destruction of nature. It is the responsibility of the hikers to safeguard nature. Hiking to less-visited places can give the trekkers an opportunity to observe some rare species of animals and plants. It is their duty to safeguard these species by not disturbing their lives or their natural environment. We cannot afford to put the environment at stake.