The History of Hiking
Hiking is explained as an activity when you walk outdoor in a natural environment, often in the countryside’s for the only purpose of pleasure and recreation. Of course it is hard to say exactly when mankind went from walking for the purpose of hunting & surviving to doing to doing it just for fun, and because of this many people choose to date the beginning of hiking to the same time when men first started to walk up strait in the stone age. 5000 years ago the iceman Otzi, whose mummy was found in 1991, is believed to have walked up the Alps, although it’s impossible to say for what reasons he might have done this.
The first recorded trek must be the one that a Roman Emperor did in the year 121 up the today active Volcano Etna that is located near Sicily. Supposedly he was doing this for the main reason to get a better view of the sunrise, which in that case is consistent with how we look at hiking today. In 1778 a religious leader in England wrote a book about walking in the Lake District for pure pleasure and included guides to find the best pointes to appreciate the view from. The book got to be a huge success and inspired people to start taking walks them selves. And after this a handful of poets started to write about their hiking journeys around the country. In earlier days walking had generally been associated with poverty, but in the 18th century this attitude started to change because of the influence from the Romantic Movement who encouraged the interest for nature and landscape. In 1819 the American Abel Crawford and his son cleared of a 8,5mile long trail up to the summit of Mount Washington, which is today the oldest currently in use walking trail in the US. Soon the romanticism spread also to the US where more and more writers started to wright about nature and walking.
One important character in the USs walking and wilderness history is the naturalist John Muir who was responsible for the establishment of Yosmite and Sequoia National parks. He was also the founder of the Sierra Club that is now one of the most important conservation organizations and also the writer to many texts that has inspired different people including presidents and congressmen’s to take action to preserve the nature. Also in England the walking culture had gained a big popularity much because of the industrialization, that had made many people to move in to the cramped cities and then substituted there lack of space with walk in the country sides on their free time.
But this made another problem appear when most of the countryside land was privately owned and many people that were out walking got accused of trespassing. As a result of the problem many walking clubs started to emerge with the purpose to politically campaign for the right to walk freely.
By organizing a mass trespassing event that attracted to many people for the police to control they finally got through some benefits for the walkers. But they didn’t get as much trough as they hoped for, and these boundaries later led to a different solution for the problem when several national parks got established after the World War II. The history of hiking is also deeply connected to the history of Mountaineering which you in a way can se as the next level of hiking. For example it can also be interesting to look in to the first accents of mountains like Elbrus, K2, Mount Everest, Mc Kinley & the Alps if you want a deeper understanding of were hiking heritages from.