Soon I will depart for my winter hiking adventures in England and Europe. It still amazes me at the looks and comments I get about long distance hiking. Outsiders (those who do not hike, backpack, trek or tramp) just don’t get. I get comments like, “MUST BE THE LIFE” and imply it’s easy and we have nothing else to do!! Really people? Wake up, think outside the box!! Hikers are like ultra athletes and/marathoners, we suffer the same injuries (Achilles tendonitis, plantar fascitis, shin splints and stress fractures are a few examples) Just like any sport or exercise program, hiking releases endorphins, which makes us want more of it! (Type of addiction so to speak). It’s a fire that burns deep within our souls, a desire to experience life outside the box! To reap the rewards of hiking we must endure the brutality of it! Our bodies ache, muscles burn, we get injuries, suffer illnesses, loneliness and equipment failures. Hiking is not free, it costs us time and money!! We hike 7 to 10 hours a day or more, we ascend and descend almost daily and sometimes for several miles. Ascending our muscles ache n burn and descending our knees and feet will scream at us but we keep going everyday. Why? Because of the fire burning within! To experience, feel, taste, see and smell all nature has to offer and what some could only dream of or read about in books! We feed the fire and endure the exhaustion and pains to live a dream. My opinion is of course, if you have to ask you wouldn’t understand anyways. If you wanna feel and experience what we do, then leave your comfort zone and your box and get out there, into the wild and feed your fire within!