Sensory Hiking

Big things sometimes come in small packages. Take rock jasmine for instance. This miniscule subalpine wildflower is fragrant bundle of loveliness – and yet many hikers never give it a second glance.

Rock Jasmine - tiny flower, huge sweet scent! (Photo: M.Kopp)

With flowers less than a quarter of an inch across, it can be easy to overlook. But for those who bend down on one knee and give it a whiff, the aroma is pure delight. One of the rewards of hiking on up to a summit is that the visual feast is only a part of the journey.

Hiking beyond sight!

  1. Smell – take a moment to smell a little sweet-flowered androsace (aka rock jasmine) or wild mint or wild rose.
  2. Listen – from the call of the raven to tap, tap of the woodpecker to the trill of songbirds, learning a few bird calls can open up a whole new world of discovery. Instead of just a bird, it’s a warbling vireo or a common yellowthroat or a varied thrush.
  3. Taste – mmmshezguud. Sorry, couldn’t write with my mouth filling with saliva at the thought of tasting summer’s wild strawberries and raspberries. Oh yes, and then there’s the tang of mountain sorrel and the initial bitter chewiness of spruce gum.
  4. Touch – smooth rocks, rough tree bark, prickly heather. There are so many textures to explore while out on a hike.

Kids hike like this all the time. Why can’t adults do it once in a while too?

Go ahead, pack your pack, pick a trail and rediscover how much fun it was to use all of those senses!

© 2011

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