How Did I Not See This as a "Thing" - I'm a Walker!!

Favourite Pastime: Walking  Walks in the City

I said it!  Yes!

I'm a walker!

It has been declared - wow.

This may not be a revelation for many of you but I had a lightbulb moment this winter.  I have never really considered walking as a sport.  I know friends who are swimmers or kayakers or see people stating that they are skiers or that they are hikers.

But being a "walker" does not seem to hold the same weight.  Maybe it's just me but I never saw it as a true activity.  I considered it as more of a pastime.  I would say:  "I'm going out for a walk" in the same way I'd say "I'm going to read".

So, why isn't walking seen as a thing in itself?

Or perhaps it IS just me?

This winter, I joined a new group online (Girlfriend Circles - I've shared a link to an article Shasta Nelson wrote here) and I saw that many people listed "walking" as an activity.  People who "enjoy walking, love to go on walks, favourite hobby is walking, love walks (walks in nature, walks on boardwalk, etc)". Wow!  I had never seen so many walkers!

This is what made it click for me.

Yes - I can be a walker!

I really enjoy getting outdoors and have done many activities including jogging, cycling, rowing, swimming and a bit of kayaking in the warmer months.  But lately I've found that my favourite  outdoor activity that connects me to nature is walking.

It's so easy - just put on the right shoes (or boots!) and go!

And especially with Viliam, we'd grab our cameras and go check out a trail or green space - either one of our favourites or a new one.

It's such a simple yet pleasurable activity and I like it because we can really see details and notice things while we are outside.

So I can now proudly say:  I'm a walker too!

Enjoy Walking as a Hobby
-- Photo by V. Glazduri --

What do you think?  Are you a walker?  

Do you think walking isn't taken as seriously as other athletic activities?

* * *

If you like challenging yourself - here is some inspiration for a walking challenge:
Main Street Hiker (Algonquin College - Student Blog)  
Holly Drew challenges herself to walk all the streets of the city she lives in like her father has done before her.  Take a look at her walking challenge map, packing for your walking challenge, and challenges of walking every street.  
Stuart Kite's 2018 Walk across Ottawa (Ottawa University) 
Stuart states that he has "always been a walker... walk(ing) everywhere, even when it would be faster to take the bus." And he was "inspired by Canada’s 150 celebrations... to take it further, literally, by walking across Ottawa, from Orleans to Kanata."
Ottawa_Trails (Instagram account) 
"My mission is to hike, run, or ski every public trail in Ottawa.  East and south greenbelt done, river pathways done." (Challenge started April 2016)

Some Tips for Urban Nature Walking:
  • If you stay on paved or gravel paths there is less to think about: you won't likely encounter poison ivy, ticks, etc. These are things you should consider if you go off path and are walking through grass and/or other plants that you cannot identify.
  • You can find mosquitoes, black flies, etc. even in cities.  In Ontario, June is the worst month for biting insects, so you may want to avoid thicker forested or boggy areas during the hotter summer months.  Last summer mosquitoes in Ottawa tested positive for West Nile virus so take this seriously and apply "a Health Canada-approved mosquito repellent containing DEET or Icaridin to exposed skin and clothing" (link).
  • The summer months may be better for walks along urban water paths such as rivers or lakes where you may find less insects especially if there are some summer breezes coming off the water.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go, especially if you are going for a longer walk.  Sometimes, it IS as easy as putting on your shoes and getting out but other times you may need to consider weather protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, rain jacket, etc) and you may want to carry water.
  • If you do go off path, remember that ticks can be found in long grass and on other vegetation.  If you wear light clothes they are easier to see; consider tucking your pant legs into your socks (the best fashion statement around!) and definitely do a tick check when you get home.  
  • Also if you go off path, ensure that you are able to identify dangerous plants such as poison ivy and poison hemlock.  Ottawa has signs where you may find Wild Parsnip - even if it's not as dangerous as some say - still worth giving a wide berth!

Exploring Nature in City Walking in Parks

Happy urban WILD walking!

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