693 forum posts
Someone mentioned that their rhythm was important to them when hiking and it got me thinking. Well, probably not thinking, but my best approximation of it.
I have no sense of rhythm. I can't dance, heck, even my heart needs a pacemaker just to keep a beat. But why would one want to have a steady rhythm in the backcountry? There is too much to see and enjoy - that requires observation, which means, at least in my experience, as great an awareness of your surroundings as possible and then bending your time to the needs of inquiry. That may mean just sitting down to watch some beavers - or ants - which you probably wouldn't notice if you kept a rhythmic pace.
Anyway, I never noticed a backcountry mountain trail, or off-trail, that allowed a rhythm, unless you mean stumbling over rocks more or less gracefully. Granted, slogging across the tundra, desert, or veldt can be heartbreakingly rhythmic (but watch for sandworms). However, forested hills and mountains don't like human rhythm.
The word "Rhythm" has its origin in flowing. Now, I flow downhill readily enough, often faster than I want; but I don't flow uphill all that well. And the steeper the hill, the less likely that the ascent is working to a measured beat.
So, when we go backcountry is it to set our own rhythm or, allegorically, accept the rhythm that it provides?