She was around six when our daughter learned the value of hiking slow and steady.
On the ascent up a switchbacking trail, she trekked ever upwards. One couple rushed past. Within five minutes we came across them, catching their breath on a corner. As soon as they saw us, they took off again.
It became a bit of a game until at one point, they stopped, puffing as we passed. They looked at our little girl and said: “She’s a good hiker.”
I was reminded of this scene the other day when we set out to hike up the 551 steps to the cupola in St. Peters Cathedral in Rome. It was exactly the same scenario.
There is a tendency with inexperienced or occasional hikers to start fast, like horses out of the chute and onto the racetrack. Invariably though, we pass them and keep going. The secret isn’t speed, it’s stamina.
Start too fast and you’ll breath too hard. Your body needs to recover so you find it necessary to stop – losing time on the trail.
Start at a reasonable pace, maintain this speed and you won’t need to stop as often.
The hills and mountain peaks and duomo vistas aren’t going anywhere in a hurry – so take some time and enjoy the entire trip.