Yesterday’s “why can’t I stop hiking” was huge hit among the hiking twitterati so I figured I’d expand on that theme with a challenge to everybody in the hiking blogosphere to post a short “why we hike” essay (if you post to twitter, add the hashtag #whywehike ). The trick here is to make it something off-the-cuff, the first thing that pops into your head, so you don’t have time to over-think it. Give yourself 15 minutes to write it, five minutes to double-check your work, then post.

Turtle working on its tan

Here’s mine:

In California, I hiked every weekend for five years without seeing a single turtle. Then in North Carolina I saw two in the same weekend.

I stopped for awhile watch one do its turtle tae-kwon do. A turtle hasn’t got many moves, what moves it has, happen very slowly. I marveled that something which moved so slow could somehow be alive in a world of so many fast, hungry predators. But having a hard shell for a skin makes up for a lot.

A turtle doesn’t bother trying to run way. It just sucks itself up into its shell and hopes for the best. I walked away thinking yeah, that guy has all he needs to get by in these woods. A half-mile down the trail I noticed something flattened round to the ground. Sure enough, it was a turtle shell.

Tough enough for everything but a careless example of our species. I mean, what else could stomp that sucker flat?

So that’s not really why I hike. But it’s why I’d rather hike.

* If you’re not a twitter subscriber, you can still see what others have said by clicking on this link.