Inspirational Hiking Quotes
"You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves."
-- Lito Tejada-Flores
"Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb."
"Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach."
-- John Muir
"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory."
"Climbing is not a spectator sport."
"Remember that time spent on a rock climb isn't subtracted from your life span."
"Climbing is as close as we can come to flying."
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
"Mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence."
"In the mountains there are only two grades: You can either do it, or you can't."
"Many climbers become writers because of the misconceptions about climbing."
"If adventure has a final and all-embracing motive, it is surely this: we go out because it is our nature to go out, to climb mountains, and to paddle rivers, to fly to the planets and plunge into the depths of the oceans... When man ceases to do these things, he is no longer man."
"When you ride your bike, you're working your legs, but your mind is on a treadmill. When you play chess, your mind is clicking along, but your body is stagnating. Climbing brings it together in a beautiful, magical way. The adrenaline is flowing, and it's flowing all the time."
"...by bringing myself over the edge and back, I discovered a passion to live my days fully, a conviction that will sustain me like sweet water on the periodically barren plain of our short lives."
-- Jonathan Waterman
"Take only pictures; leave only footprints."
"It's always further than it looks.
"It's a wonderful feeling to push even a tiny piece of the planet down beneath one's feet. If it's overhanging plastic, it's going to pump your arms like bloated sausages; if it's a steep snow-slope at 27000 feet it's going to deaden the legs and make the lungs like overworked bellows. Either way, the challenges are obvious."
"One does not climb to attain enlightenment, rather one climbs because he is enlightened."
"Many years ago, I climbed the mountains, even thought it is forbidden. Things are not as they teach us; the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky."
"Climbing is one of the few sports in which the arena (the cliffs, the mountains and their specific routes) acquire a notoriety that outpopulates, outshines and outlives the actual athletes."
"[In mountaineering, if] we look for private experience rather than public history, even getting to the top becomes an optional narrative rather than the main point, and those who only wander in high places become part of the story."
-- Rebecca Solnit (Wanderlust: A History of Walking)
"In the American Southwest, I began a lifelong love affair with a pile of rock."
"There have been joys too great to be described in words, and there have been griefs upon which I have not dared to dwell, and with these in mind I say, climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end."
"The aim of the mountaineer, if he wishes to be an artist in the full sense of word, is neither escape nor "the search for the absolute" as some have claimed, but rather seek that place where "the mystic remains silent and the poets start to speak towards men."
"In a sense everything that is exists to climb. All evolution is a climbing towards a higher form. Climbing for life as it reaches towards the consciousness, towards the spirit. We have always honored the high places because we sense them to be the homes of gods. In the mountains there is the promise of... something unexplainable. A higher place of awareness, a spirit that soars. So we climb... and in climbing there is more than a metaphor; there is a means of discovery."
-- Rob Parker
"Climbing is the lazy man's way to enlightenment. It forces you to pay attention, because if you don't, you won't succeed, which is minor — or you may get hurt, which is major. Instead of years of meditation, you have this activity that forces you to relax and monitor your breathing and tread that line between living and dying. When you climb, you always are confronted with the edge. Hey, if it was just like climbing a ladder, we all would have quit a long time ago."
-- Duncan Ferguson
"You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place ? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know."
"To put yourself into a situation where a mistake cannot necessarily be recouped, where the life you lose may be your own, clears the head wonderfully. It puts domestic problems back into proportion and adds an element of seriousness to your drab, routine life. Perhaps this is one reason why climbing has become increasingly hard as society has become increasingly, disproportionately, coddling."
"The bizarre trend in mountaineers is not the risk they take, but the large degree to which they value life. They are not crazy because they don't dare, they're crazy because they do. These people tend to enjoy life to the fullest, laugh the hardest, travel the most, and work the least."
"The pleasure of risk is in the control needed to ride it with assurance so that what appears dangerous to the outsider is, to the participant, simply a matter of intelligence, skill, intuition, coordination... in a word, experience. Climbing in particular, is a paradoxically intellectual pastime, but with this difference: you have to think with your body. Every move has to be worked out in terms of playing chess with your body. If I make a mistake the consequences are immediate, obvious, embarrassing, and possibly painful. For a brief period I am directly responsible for my actions. In that beautiful, silent, world of mountains, it seems to me worth a little risk."
"If the conquest of a great peak brings moments of exultation and bliss, which in the monotonous, materialistic existence of modern times nothing else can approach, it also presents great dangers. It is not the goal of grand alpinism to face peril, but it is one of the tests one must undergo to deserve the joy of rising for an instant above the state of crawling grubs. But soon we have to start the descent. Suddenly I feel sad and despondent. I am well aware that a mountaineering victory is only a scratch in space But in spite of this, how sad I feel at leaving that crest ! On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
"I believe that the ascent of mountains forms an essential chapter in the complete duty of man, and that it is wrong to leave any district without setting foot on its highest peak."
"Some mountaineers are proud of having done all their climbs without bivouac. How much they have missed ! And the same applies to those who enjoy only rock climbing, or only the ice climbs, onyl the ridges or faces. We should refuse none of the thousands and one joys that the mountains offer us at every turn. We should brush nothing aside, set no restrictions. We should experience hunger and thirst, be able to go fast, but also to go slowly and to contemplate."
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."
"Each fresh peak ascended teaches something."
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
“Me think that the moment mylegs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” -- Henry DavidThoreau
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stayout till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
“Hiking alone lets me have some time to myself.”
“The body's habituation to walking as normal stems from the good olddays. It was the bourgeois form of locomotion: physicaldemythologization, free of the spell of hieratic pacing, rooflesswandering, breathless flight. Human dignity insisted on the right towalk, a rhythm not extorted from the body by command or terror. Thewalk, the stroll, were private ways of passing time, the heritage ofthe feudal promenade in the nineteenth century.”
“After a day's walk everything has twice its usual value.”
“If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.”
“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.”
“Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise.”
“When you have worn out yourshoes, the strength of the shoe leather has passed into the fiber ofyour body. I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats andclothes you have worn out.”
“I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.”
“A vigorous five-mile walkwill do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than allthe medicine and psychology in the world.”
“My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.”
“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”
“After a day's walk everything has twice its usual value.”
“When you haveworn out your shoes, the strength of the shoe leather has passed intothe fiber of your body. I measure your health by the number of shoesand hats and clothes you have worn out.”
“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.”
“Thoughts come clearly while one walks.”
“We live in a fast-paced society. Walking slows us down.”
“Above all, do not loseyour desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state ofwell-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself intomy best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that onecannot walk away from it.”
“The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk.”
“I still find each daytoo short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want totake, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want tosee.”
“The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.”
“How can you explain that you need to know that the trees are still there,and the hills and the sky? Anyone knows they are. How can you say itis time your pulse responded to another rhythm, the rhythm of the dayand the season instead of the hour and the minute? No, you cannotexplain. So you walk.”
“Make your feet your friend.”
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity...”
“I’ve learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”
“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.”
“Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
“Not all that wander are lost.”
“The experienced mountain climber is not intimidated by a mountain — he is inspired by it.”
“Mountain hikes instilled in me a life-long urge to get to the top of any inviting summit or peak.”
“Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley. ”
“There may be more to learn from climbing the same mountain a hundred times than by climbing a hundred different mountains.”
“Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried.”
“It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”
“In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks.”
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
“There are two kinds of climbers, those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.”
“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up”
“The place where you lose the trail is not necessarily the place where it ends.”
“The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key. That's the best thing about a walking, the journey itself. It doesn't much matter whether you get where your going or not. You'll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home. Right were you started.”
“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.”
“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”
“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
"Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings."
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
"If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk."
"Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it."
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds."
"You need special shoes for hiking - and a bit of a special soul as well."