When I’m out hiking, I recognize I’m quite visible at times. My goal is to always reclaim a trail through visibility and my joy— a push against only thinking about the summit. Instead, it’s about the joy of the journey. My presence, words, and visuals are meant to be a visual and textual representation of what being a hiker can be.
A hike is simply walking in nature. It often feels way less accessible to many who are new to it. But the truth is you are likely not new at all. In fact, you are already an experienced urban hiker. You understand the sidewalk trails and urban landscapes. When I define hiking in those terms, it is what it should be— much more accessible as an activity.
Don’t think for one second you are not capable or qualified. I encourage you to embrace taking back the term. When I explain hiking in this, I find more people, especially folks of color, feel more at ease in joining me.
I’m a climber first. I started hiking out of necessity to get the climbing areas that can be often be deeply nestled in. Prior to climbing, I never viewed what I was doing as hiking, which means I was dissociating my nature experience rather than claiming it. And then I spent a few summers out West and hiked constantly. There are days when I want & need the intense push as an athlete & adventure photographer. But then there are days I where I use hiking as a restorative exercise. I’m inspired by seeing rad landscapes and microclimates. I do it to make my soul smile. I even dance on my water breaks.
I tend to go to heavily-used trails if I’m solo for safety. I now live in the Bay Area full-time, and this is one of my favorite hikes up on Mt. Tamalpais on ancestral Ohlone lands. The Dipsea Matt Davis Trail, a well-trafficked loop, that I begin near Pantoll Campground. Hike through a forest and it opens up to a seascape where you can see where the Pacific meets the San Francisco Bay. It’s a beautiful trail run, hike, or photo adventure. If you’re super adventurous, hike all the way to the bottom and grab fresh oysters at Stinson Beach at the Parkside Cafe. Bring your camera. Bring your joy.
I want this to be an invitation for you to reclaim your local trail or even sidewalk. Hike anywhere. Hike your city. It’s just a walk in nature for the soul.
Featured on a recent cover of Outside Magazine, L (short for Lanisha) is a climber, photographer, athlete, and innovation strategist.
Lanisha is featured wearing the Tennine Hike GTX.