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Spots on the Rock

Take a hike

National holiday aims to get hikers off devices and outdoors

Casually walking through Macy's one day, a simple grey T-shirt with an animated nature scene caught my eye.

A rushing blue river with a fish flailing out of the water fades into distant hills and a green forest in the background rises into the sky, where an orange sun is setting.

A brown deer in the foreground pauses in a statue's stance near the river, as if it sees you watching. Below nature's peaceful portrait, across the bottom, black text reads, "Take a hike."

In my mind, I was like, "Well, well, well, looks like I've found my uniform."

Aching for the outdoors

Excited, I obviously bought the shirt and it's been well worn for the few months I've had it. Though, I wish I took its advice more often.

Hiking has become less of a hobby and more of a luxury these days, but don't get me wrong – I'm always aching to get outdoors.

And I'm planning to use this weekend's special commemoration to get the old hiking gears grinding again. Whether you're new to our island's trails and even if it's been a while, you should, too!

National Take A Hike Day will be observed Saturday, Nov. 17, across the country. For those squinting their eyes and slanting their heads – yes, this is a real holiday!

The national organization stated on its website, "Take A Hike Day was established by the American Hiking Society to encourage groups of families and friends to get out into the wild and really get a taste of what it means to be away from it all again."

Now, the question is: Will you?

An early start

I was in elementary school when I started hiking. My first hikes align with those of most island residents, including Tarzan Falls, Sella Bay and Talofofo Caves.

Not much is memorable because I was young, but at the back of my mind, I knew once I got my driver's license I'd certainly take a hike more often.

All throughout high school, I wanted so desperately to break from routine. My school's library had stunning views of an untouched southern landscape. It was screensaver worthy!

Each time I had class there, I'd find my eyes drifting outdoors toward that hilly distance. And even years later, at my old workplace, I found myself doing the same thing with another window vista.

At the old corporate office, dressed in slacks and a buttoned-up, long-sleeved shirt, I wanted nothing more than to set foot on dirt trails.

You might stare out your office window and dream of other desires, but I hope at least one of them happens outdoors!

The American Hiking Society said the average American spends 11 hours looking at a screen and less than 5 percent of our time outside these days.

Technology is addictive and if you're grabbing your phone because you thought you heard a buzz, but there are no notifications – you've got a problem.

Fads and facades

The reality is that technology isn't going anywhere.

Phones are the new fad, but know they're also a facade obscuring what's truly important in life.

Let's rethink our relationship with technology. Set some boundaries away from the virtual world while you rediscover the world we live in. Tell technology to "take a hike!"

Let's explore what lies outside our office windows and get mentally lost outdoors, so we can come home recalibrated.

Let's engage our family, friends and community in nurturing our wild hearts. Make it a family adventure, friendly bonding or community activity many can enjoy.

Above all, take some time on Saturday, whether you hike or not, to look up from your screen and see the light of day.

Absorb the sun's radiance and take delight in knowing this is life, and it lives on every day – if only you remember to look up.


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