I am not a mountain trekker.
Yes, I did a ‘day hike’ around Malaysia but I never try mountain trekking. The thought of having to endure pains and aches along the journey to the peak scares me. Why do I want to do that to my beloved self, my inner self voice talked me out each time.
A few weeks ago while walking on the Mardi Himal (Nepal) trek I found myself questioning my decision again, what am I doing in the middle of the mountain, struggling to keep my pace at par with the rest of my hiking group members. The trek is listed as an easy-to-moderate trek but for a first-timer like me, I find it super challenging. Not only that I struggled hiking up and down the steep stairs, but the cold weather was unbearable, and it was hard to breathe when you are far high on the mountain due to the high altitude. At the same time, I had to cope with terrible flu throughout the 4 days journey.
You can read about my hiking experience along the Mardi Himal trek here.
Why do people choose to hike? Why leave your comfortable home, and choose to pay and torture yourself for days on the mountain, struggling to reach the peak? Why?
I witnessed the struggle that we experienced along the journey to the peak. Yet, when we reached Kathmandu after we had successfully completed our trek, my team members were eagerly talking about their next hiking trip to Manaslu and completely forgot about the struggles of our recent trek.
I figured out the reason why people hike by observing my fellow hikers. I grouped them into 3 categories:
- THE ACHIEVER: The achiever hikers look at the peak as numbers that they need to complete. The journey along the trek is insignificant compared to the peak, they run as fast as flying on the track to reach the final destination. They have a long list of mountains that they need to conquer, and the ultimate reason why they hike is to complete the list. They are athletic and focus-driven, nothing could stop them. I am scared of them when I happened to cross paths with them on the trek, it is normal to feel scared of something that you don’t understand, right?
- THE JOURNEYER: The journeyer is opposite the achiever. They enjoy being on the long winding trek more than reaching the peak itself. They have more reasons why they choose to hike. Some hike to improve their health, some to feel disconnected from their current working lifestyle, some just want to spend more ‘me’ time, some want to get closer to nature, some spend hours on the trek mingled with friends, some hike to challenge themself and so many other reasons. My friend, Azli hikes because he likes being on the trek. He repeatedly hiked on EBC trek for 5 times without feeling bored at all.
- THE CURIOUS: The curious hiker is a total newbie or maybe a seasonal onlooker, who wonders why the achiever and the journeyer hikers love walking on the mountain so much, got curious, and later decided to join the wagon. The curious one would end up either hating it or falling head over heels for hiking, who knows right? The curious ones are totally new to everything about mountain trekking. The real reason why they hike is to have a slight taste of the experience that the achiever and the journeyer hikers had, and later judge them, just joking lol.
Mountain trekking like any other hobby is an expensive hobby too (but cheaper than my photography hobby, lol). You need to be well-prepared for the hike. It is different from hiking Mt Angsi or Mt Datuk in Negeri Sembilan where we can just grab our shoes, water bottles, few packs of nasi lemak and go hiking. Every high mountain has its own significant character that allows you to experience hiking it in its own distinctive way.
Since each of us is different in our own way, we have our own reason why we prefer hiking over any other hobby. What is your reason to go for a hike?
Yes, of courselah, I am the curious hiker.