Why I Hike!

Why I Hike...

I don’t fancy myself as much of a writer. But it seems like writing a blog is the “thing” to do now a days, especially if you want strong SEO, if you are starting a business or looking to grow your “following” and develop new leads and blah, blah blah…Ha! This piece likely won’t be a pivotal ground breaking essay, nor will it be a literary masterpiece bound for a Pulitzer however, I hope that it gives you a little bit of insight into why I hike and why I started Playwest Mountain Experience (PME).

The short and sweet version is that PME is a guiding company that focuses on guiding people on hiking trips into the Canadian Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Simple really. If you have followed PME in the last little while you may have seen our “mantra” in some of our content and on our website, (Dis)connect, Engage, Experience and maybe you’ve been wondering…what does it all mean… Below I hope to shed some light on our philosophy and why I enjoy hiking with people.

Russell Peak, Height of the Rockies Provincial Park  British Columbia, Canada

Russell Peak, Height of the Rockies Provincial Park

British Columbia, Canada

(Dis)connect

Disconnect:

verb;

interupt or terminate by breaking the connection.

Connect:

verb;

bring together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established.

There is a reason for the Dis in parentheses. I see this (dis) and connect separate but together as more of a statement rather than a single word. Let’s talk about the (dis)connect part. Life is busy. Plain and simple. There is a lot of noise that can be very distracting. Blogs by people like me, social media, family life, wifi, internet, cell phones, iPads, laptops, work…the list goes on. The claim for years has been that the digital age is about keeping people connected more effectively and even more efficiently. I would argue that while it may do this to some degree it also manages to achieve the complete opposite. It seems to me that we are moving further apart. Hiding behind our screens and phones missing out on the ‘connect’ part of life. The ‘Dis’ part of our mantra is simple, our hope is to take our guests away from all of the noise. Away from the wifi, internet, beeps, pings and rings.

The good stuff is when we establish the connection again. The connection with the outside, with each other and most importantly, with ourselves. When I have had any challenges in my personal life I would find refuge in the outdoors. I would wander around the incredible Columbia Valley mountains and could (dis)connect from all of my troubles even if only for a few hours. These hours spent outside were magic! After each trip my body was sore (the good kinda sore) my mind was clear, I was energized, filled with endorphins and I would regain hope of the future. I would (dis)connect in one form and would connect in another. Nature is incredibly powerful!

No wifi…no problem. Napping among the giants.  Jumbo Pass, Purcell Mountains, British Columbia, Canada

No wifi…no problem. Napping among the giants.

Jumbo Pass, Purcell Mountains, British Columbia, Canada

Engage

verb;

occupy, attract or involve (someone’s interest or attraction)

For me to ‘engage’ is an extension of connecting. This is all done through connecting to something or someone within our surroundings. Engaging in conversation, learning about our environment, engaging the 5 senses. Being in the outdoors can be thought provoking and even enlightening.

The five senses are to see, smell, taste, hear, and touch...incase your forgot. Hiking in the mountains can be a complete sensory overload, in the best possible way. Views and vistas, creeks, pristine lakes, glaciers, wildlife and so much more will widen your eyes. Smells of fresh rain, wildflowers, pine trees, the beginning of fall and perfectly fresh air are unbeatable. Tasting fresh glacial waters, the different wild berries, and even some of the edible plants and mushrooms provoke thoughts of how generations past survived on the land. Hearing the roar of a waterfall, trees rustling in the wind, birds singing, ground squirrels chirping, creeks and brooks flowing are sounds of life that many miss. Feeling a light breeze or the sun on your face or if you are unlucky a little rain. Running spruce, pine and fir needles through your fingers, splashing glacial fresh water on your face or, if you are brave enough, skinny dipping in a glacial lake.

Engaging is also about meeting new people or learning something new about the area that you are in. What did the First Nations do in this region? How were the mountains formed? What is the difference between a Bighorn Sheep and a Mountain Goat? Questioning our surroundings and how we got here is all part of connecting to our environment.

Experience

verb;

used to refer to the past events, knowledge and feelings that make up someone’s life or character.

Now this may be a bit cliche…here goes anyways. I want to ask you a question. When you are in your last days and are looking back on your life, what do you think will fill your mind? Will it be the material possessions you had throughout your life. Will it be that iPhone 79 that had a camera that had an optical zoom similar to microscope? Will it be how much money you acquired? If it is, then that is cool. Who am I to judge. However, I do think that your memories and experiences will be the most important things that you recall. Your family and the time you spent with them, personal achievements, and of course the millions of experiences that shaped who you are. Spending time in the mountains and in the fresh air are some of my fondest memories and experiences to date. Experiences, in my opinion, are one of the greatest commodities we have, along with time of course. Time, however, is limited. Experiences can be infinite. But you don't know unless you go.

All three of our mantras are interconnected and form the basis for who PME is and who I am at my core. I believe that time away from the noise, expanding our knowledge and exposing ourselves to our incredible surroundings can create infinite experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

Why do I hike…to (Dis)Connect, Engage, Experience. Thats why.

IMG_5396.jpg
Chris Skinner