Take a Hike

It’s that time of the year where work piles on ferociously and seems to never stop. I know, so much stress and so little time left before finals week.

Some say you can relieve stress by drawing, reading a book, or writing. Well, besides writing, I don’t really tend to do any of those. However, I like to consider hiking as my favorite stress relief.

Ever since I came in as a freshman to SUNY New Paltz two years ago, hiking has unexpectedly become my lifestyle. It is something I’ve done on many weekends, especially with the prominent bipolar weather that has been going on this year.

Back in my hometown of Long Beach located on Long Island, I never got to experience any sort of mountainous setting. It was mainly just a bunch of restaurants and a not so long beach nearby (yes, pun intended). So besides going swimming, going up a bunch of sandy lifeguard hills and jumping off for the fun of it, I never really got to experience the beauties of hiking until I started college.

I haven’t been to many areas besides Lake Minnewaska, the Gunks, and different portions of the Catskill Mountains, but it’s something many don’t even get to experience. In fact, it’s really just the starting points to whatever areas of the world I desire to travel to.

I have always been the adventurous type. When you go hiking, you’re always going to end up with some great stories or accomplishments, no matter how difficult the trail or how experienced you may be. Even if it’s getting lost on a trail and taking an extra hour to find your way back, or nearly injuring yourself to get the perfect photo on a beautiful sunny day, there are so many stories you can share just from a relaxing walk in nature.

It’s nearly impossible to go on every hike without an avid hiker giving you a nice greeting when you pass them — a reminder that there are genuinely kind people out there, but don’t think it’s a free pass to talk to strangers, because these are two different things.

Sure, some places may get a bit pricy for the college student budget or just for any person trying to hike. But, just like studying abroad or paying for an expensive concert ticket, you shouldn’t let money get in the way of going out to experience the free world.

Through hiking I have found myself. I don’t know if its getting away from the Long Island pollution and getting a breath of real fresh air, but I always feel like I can do the impossible on these hikes.

And don’t stress it, hiking even makes up for those times you convince yourself not to go to the gym. It incorporates walking and running the trail, climbing boulders and scaling the edges of rocks just to take the perfect picture for Instagram.

So, no matter what you do and how busy you are, it’s always beneficial to do something adventurous. Many college students are loaded with work, but if you have the time, it’s a very promising stress relief to just put down your books and take a few hours to go hiking with your friends.