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Interview with Jackie: Benefits of Hiking

Author: Vladimir Brown

This interview was taken with JackieET1987 from Reddit.

When and why did you start hiking?

In my twenties (2014ish) a group of friends invited me on a 10km hike in the Alberta Rockies. Despite growing up about an hour drive from the mountains I hadn’t really done any hiking. I was fascinated by my surroundings and this hike sparked a desire in me to get out into these areas more.

What is your approach to hiking?

Hiking is therapeutic for me personally. I often go alone to clear out my lungs and head. When it comes to my approach to guiding, it’s that hiking is for everyone. Nature should be enjoyed by all so I encourage everyone to hike.

Besides hiking, what helps you achieve the same therapeutic effect?

hmmm if it’s not climbing, scrambling, or hiking, probably the only other time I feel that is traveling somewhere completely foreign to me. Thrill of the unknown I guess.

Does it matter to you who is nearby at that moment? Could you hike alone, or do you need good fellows around you??

I hike alone more often than not, and I have a select few people I will go with. Mountains are sacred to me and the wrong vibe can really bring the day down.

How do you choose places to travel?

I choose places for myself that are challenging, sometimes a little thrilling, and I like to try new routes. For groups I choose based on the group's skill level, and what I think has a lot to offer and will make them want to come back.

What are your favorite apps you use for hiking?

I use AllTrails. I do not recommend this for a new hiker. I repeat I do not recommend this for a new hiker. The reason for that is that it’s crowd sourced and the information (especially difficulty levels) can be wildly inaccurate. Maps are not always reliable as people tend to wander off trail. Having said that I download the maps and use them as a general guideline to assist in route finding. I also have Nugara and Kane’s “Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies” and “Where locals hike in the Canadian Rockies” was my first hiking book. These are more useful coupled with internet research to get the best information on your hikes.

I use a combination of downloaded maps from AllTrails, information from internet/books, route finding skills, and maps. I will likely purchase a Garmin spot in the near future.

Name 5 items you can't imagine hiking without.

5 items I couldn’t hike without:

  • hiking poles,
  • proper boots,
  • food, water,
  • layers (not sure if this counts as just one lol).

What websites do you look at for information about the places you plan to explore?

I use government websites to check recent trail conditions, and will use AllTrails reviews, or the Alberta hikes Facebook page to see if there are any updates I need to know about.

What adventures are you planning for the coming year?

Every summer I do what I call “Peak a Week”. I’m in the mountains 1-3 days every week either hiking or climbing. My fiancé and I hope to get a spot for backpacking the Jasper skyline, and we are camping in Dinosaur national park so we will get some hiking in there too.

At what point do you feel happy? Does the joy level depend on the difficulty of the hiking?

On the drive out there I get happy, knowing what I’m headed out to do.

I do get more personally out of difficult hikes for sure. I get joy out of the baby ones too but in a different way, usually in watching others enjoy it.

I'm Vladimir, your guide in the expansive world of technology journalism, with a special focus on GPS technologies and mapping. My journey in this field extends over twenty fruitful years, fueled by a profound passion for technology and an insatiable curiosity to explore its frontiers.