It’s a running joke in the hiking world: spending time on the trail with your partner is a surefire way to make or break the relationship. Backpacking 101 author Heather Balogh Rochfort explains why you should do it.
I mean, it kind of makes sense. You’re dirty; you’re exhausted; you’re smelly; and there is a fairly good chance that your bathroom behavior will be the hot topic of the day. Doesn’t sound like the makings of a romantic rendezvous, does it?
But here is the catch; I’d argue that hiking with your significant other is one of the best ways to grow and nurture your relationship. How so?
1. Find Some Adventure
There is nothing like adrenaline to pull you closer as a couple. It doesn’t matter if you’ve summited a difficult peak or tackled a new long distance record; you did it together. The excitement that comes from that accomplishment will be something you can remember as a couple for years to come.
2. Caring for Each Other
We all have our daily routines dialed in. You go to work, I go to work, one of us goes to the gym, the other prepares dinner, and then we head to bed. Try as we may, it can be tough to fit compassionate moments into that grueling schedule. But on the trail, you only have each other so it’s important to take care of the other person.
During one of our first backpacking trips, my husband suffered from altitude sickness. Since we were already eight miles into the backcountry, I couldn’t do anything other than my best to make sure he was comfortable. I ran ahead on the trail to scout a campsite, tried to carry his pack, made his dinner, prepared his bed, and tucked him in at night in order to sleep it off. He awoke in the morning feeling healthy, refreshed, and in love with his then-girlfriend who cared for his well being all night.
Putting your complete trust in your partner is no joke; it’s one of the biggest obstacles in any fledgling relationship. However, you don’t have the luxury of that decision while on the trail. If the two of you are hiking together, there is no one else to help with judgment calls on safety decisions or to give you a hand while pitching the tent. You only have each other to rely on and there is a strong bond that develops from that level of commitment.
4. Quality Time
In today’s modern era, we spend more time communicating via text message and Snapchat than we actually do with our vocal cords. Our brains are constantly bombarded with various stimuli, ranging from television programs to social media platforms and YouTube channels. So much of our down time is spent staring at a TV or phone; what happened to actual conversation?
While backpacking, there is nothing else to distract you. It’s you, your partner, and the beauty that Mother Nature left behind. You will spend hours on the trail, simply putting one foot in front of the other and chatting about everything and nothing. At first, this increase in communication may feel weird but in the end, I’m willing to bet you will both grow to love it as you learn more and more about the other person.
More than just relationships, daily walks in nature can change lives. Put it to the test.