Sunday, November 6, 2011

Urban Hiking

If you live in Chicago, you know how beautiful of a day it was today.    Warm breeze, semi-cloudy fall day, with a hint of sunshine peaking depending on where you were in the city. 

I knew the second I walked outside for a minute, that today was the PERFECT day for a walk.   I put on my favorite weekend clothes (workout spandex pants and top, fleece shirt and my tennis shoes) and I set out on a walk.

As I began my walk from my place in Wicker Park, my boyfriend and I decided that this was not going to be a walk, but rather an "urban hike."  Yes it is a real word.    What is Urban Hiking you may ask, well here is a definition for you.  Urban Hiking, according to Wise Geek, is a form of hiking which takes place in an urban environment, rather than in nature. While on an urban hiking expedition, people may explore points of interest around the city they hike in, find new and interesting places in the region, or stop for food in local eateries.   Since I am an Urbanite, the only form of hiking in my environment is Urban Hiking.

The best part about Urban Hiking is that you don't have to have a route planned in advance.   All you do is set out and let your course take it's own path.    When you do it, you will explore the city in a way you have never experienced it before.   I promise you.   We walked for two hours, down streets we have never seen before and along paths we have driven down many times but never been able to appreciate on foot.

My urban hike was mentally refreshing and eye opening.   I forgot how much life there is in this amazing city I live in.   When you actually stop and take away all the noise pollution we clutter our minds with daily, you might be surprised  at how great you feel after a nice hike/walk.   You may be able to hear the leaves cracking under your feet, the water running down the streams, birds cooing under a bridge and the regular street noise.

I already cannot wait to take another hike through Chicago and explore new paths.   We all need to turn the volume down and open up our eyes and minds.   I did it and it felt great!   I left my cellphone on mute and my only form of communication was with myself or with my boyfriend who was walking along my side.  We talked about what we saw and just random thoughts. 

I had no clue that today would end up being one of my most favorite walks in the fabulous city of Chicago.   We all work so hard and get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle.   I know I do.    We deserve times where we can escape, even if it escaping within our own neighborhood.   You never know what you might find yourself discovering along the way.

"One does not climb to attain enlightenment, rather one climbs because he is enlightened."  -- Zen Master Futomaki

“After a day's walk everything has twice its usual value.”  -- George Macauley Trevelyan 

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