I lead a lot of hikes and have no problem setting off into a state or national park after looking at a map and creating my own hike. But I truly love taking a hike with a knowledgeable guide local to the area. You learn so much more about the parks and the trails and often get local stories that you would never hear otherwise. They know secret places and tucked away gems.
I met Giuseppe back when I traveled to Utah in 2019. He is a kindred spirit with a big heart and a fierce dedication to making sure everyone on his hikes leaves feeling fulfilled and happy. His enthusiasm and passion for hiking shines through every word he says and every smile he gives. He is always quick with a laugh and a shout of encouragement. He is the type of guide that you will never forget. I reached out to him because I wanted him to tell you why he thinks hiking is so important for the soul.
I started hiking when I was young- the age where we would play outside from noon to night. I was in the military for 9 years and always volunteered for the off the map assignments. I attended several survival schools and loved it. Then I started a hike group here in Southern Utah called Southern Utah Pathfinders. It quickly became too large for me to handle so I shut it down and took a job at Red Mountain. I lead a truly blessed life.
On any given day I go to work, the gas station, the convenience store, the grocery store and walk my dog. More than likely we all have the same (pre-covid) routine and we either see, speak or are in the same building as a few hundred people every day. Our random encounters with others are infinitely uncountable. We treat each other obliviously every day in “our routine’. And, if a passerby happens to speak to us on a busy city sidewalk our first thoughts are “Oh crap, what do they want?” Our structured society has instilled upon us to not make eye contact and do not speak to strangers. Not a very friendly environment, and we accept those conditions as our everyday norm.
Unless . . . . . . Unless you are a hiker. Every person I pass on the trail usually is accompanied with eye contact, a smile and a friendly greeting. Words of encouragement from “Don’t give up you're almost there.” to “You’re doing great, it is so worth it.” Occasionally, I get random high fives from passerby’s and even hugs in exchange for taking photos of people. That is, after all, the universal standard and considered quite a fair trade.
On a trail we are all family and friends, instantly. Hiking has such a connection to my soul that every hike touches me, brings me peace, makes me appreciate and love the world and the people I encounter in it. It moves me so profoundly when I return from a great hike, I feel different. I am accomplished. I am happy. I am a part of something so much bigger than any of us. So different, in fact, that I sometimes expect that the entire populous might have changed while I was gone.
Strangers might genuinely smile and greet me hello, speak random words of encouragement and reward me with a hug for a random act of solidarity. We are all in this together and it really promotes that concept on the trail. So get out and hike the world and who knows maybe in doing so, we can change the world.
You can find Giuseppe still leading hikes for Red Mountain Resort. If you happen to head out there, make sure you tell him Hike the World sent you!
Interested in becoming an ambassador for Hike the World? Click here for more information.