Is Nature Worth The Danger?

I enjoy hiking. A common activity from where I’m from in California is to hike all times of year. We constantly hiked as poor teenagers to find something to do that we didn’t have to pay for parking. If at night there was no party to go to, we would go hiking at night at “haunted” trails nearby. The legend went that Hick’s road has an albino colony bent on trying to attack any trespassers. The only real danger was the mountain lions.

Finding a hidden water oasis is one of the best parts of hiking but when I hiked in Lassen National Park the water was slightly warmer than is safe to be in. The pools of sulfuric boiling water from the nearby volcanic activity were beautiful. It smelled of eggs but the mud was considered great for the skin. I had the pleasure of meeting a bear that thankfully decided he had better things to do than hang out around me.

Starting when I was 11, I went on backpacking trips each summer. Yosemite was a great place to spend so much of my adolescence as it allowed me to learn to be sufficient enough to survive without technology or comfort. I had to carry everything I needed for the trip and pushed my limits for how far I could go. As a kid with exercise induced asthma, hiking up hills while carrying 20 pounds my limits got pushed a lot. The second time I ever went backpacking a freak thunderstorm showed up out of nowhere. Waking up underwater from the flash floods and avoiding hail made my peaceful night under the stars significantly more stressful. Hiking back, the valleys I had previously walked through were now filled with thigh-high water. My group had, luckily, managed to barely avoid hypothermia.

Somehow despite all of the many stories I’ve gathered over the years for hiking that terrify my mother I love hiking. I try to go as much as possible even now that I live in a state with an actual winter. The more dangerous experiences are overshadowed by the amount of good and happy memories I have. The pluses definitely outweigh the minuses.


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