IN A SILENT WAY

dripping lichen in the woods cape town

NON VERBAL HIKING

Usually along the hiking trail a moment comes when a lapse into group silence occurs. Elemental awe, the extended space of time, and the rhythm allows ideas old and new to ebb and flow as reconnection to starts happening.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing better than to take a nice long talk-filled walk to enhance relationship. Not just family or social. A productive team-building hike is often just a matter of giving co-workers an open countryside trail to stroll along for useful ideas to emerge in conversation.

But when it's something more personal you are after, or creative contemplation, or moments of healing to access or process, then the chat one often feels is polite to have can get in the way.

So then, why not agree among those you will be hiking with to do so in silence.

HOW SILENT?

Some event may need vocal signaling.

Before hand agree to minimize routine human-to-human intercourse along the way. Acknowledge each others presence, though it's other presences we seek to tune into.

fynbos lichen

There may be moments ontrail when it's useful or necessary to talk. Propose one or two gestures which might stand in for likely interactions that would ordinarily be dealt with in a word or so. Small groups who're well-aquainted could just improvise.

Some people may become more comfortable with the idea by discussing how to minimize the chance of talk pre-hike.

Also consider where to hike. Long steep ascents may not be best. Or agree to fall silent once you've reached a certain spot. Also prehike, discuss speed and intensity you'd prefer to go. But remember that it's only once on trail that one can really feel-out the group's pace, which usually happens non-verbally anyway; it's organic.

A silent walk could be a chance to drop the usual hike intensity, and go at something of a more contemplative pace. Perhaps slip into a shinrin yoku style activity en route.

Remember though, everyone should know to stick together unless forced to split up by serious neccesity. Rather go slower than walk at a pace not everyone can keep up with.

One way I've found to slow my natural comfortable pace is to try the 'lost art' of obligate nasal breathing.

cape trekking in fynbos

I'd be hapy to help prepare and guide you on your silent walk.