That’s right! November 17th is National Hiking Day, so lace up, pick an area trail, commune with nature and burn over 550 calories per hour. There are more than 60,000 miles of trails across America, and many unspoiled trails and nature preserves right here at home! Click here for Dallas hiking hotspots. But hiking wasn’t always a fashionable pastime. It was considered an activity for the impoverished and vagrant. The Romantic era of the Victorian years produced Walden and Thoreau, a connection with and return to nature. This mindset began to permeate all facets of society, inspiring landscape architects to design parks and walking trails (a nod to Frederick Law Olmsted of Central Park fame). Walking became a luxurious stroll, something for the educated and the unhurried. In 1890, John Muir walked his way through the Sierra Nevadas and demanded that not only hiking, walking, meandering and sojourning should be accessible to every American citizen, but that the country should actively preserve natural areas of pristine ecology and beauty. He petitioned for the creation of the National Park System, birthing Yosemite and Sequoia National Park.
But even before Muir, a small group of people on the east coast banded together in 1876 to form the Appalachian Mountain Club to protect and preserve all hiking trails along the historic mountain range.
Here are a few known hiking facts:
- Volunteers put in 241,936 hours maintaining the Appalachian Trail for future hikers to enjoy.
- The National Trails System was established in 1965.
- A team of mountaineers reached Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe in 1838
- In 1838, Scottish-American environmentalist John Muir is born 1819
- Trailblazing begins in 1819 with the first created manicured hiking trails leading up to Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.
Check out the American Hiking Society’s “Volunteer Vacation” for information on how you can enjoy the beauty of nature and lend a hand while doing so!
You are yourself a sequoia. Stop and get acquainted with your big brethren. – John Muir, famed National Parks Advocate
Reference material taken in part from the following sources: Nation Today; D Magazine, The Ultimate Guide to Hiking in Dallas, Author Bill Holston 5/8/19