Hiking is a sport that most people enjoy doing. It is present on all continents, including Antarctica. Why, climbing the seven summits includes going to Antarctica to climb Mount Vinson.
However, hiking is not the same on all continents. They have a different history, which is to be expected, given that all continents have had their own history in general, not to mention the various countries and their own personal experiences.
The US is limited to a part of the North American continent, and it has had quite an interesting history of hiking. Let us explore the history of US hiking.
The Early History of Hiking
The US has had an interesting history and love-hate relationships with mountains, particularly during the earliest days when European settlers arrived. Most of the hiking at the time was either done by explorers or people who had to find ways to survive.
Hiking as a hobby was not present until the late 1800s, much closer to the 20th century. The mid 1800s were reserved for urbanization and formation of cities.
The US was fairly rural up until that point. Due to industrialization and settling cities, people’s lives were centered around cities, working in the industries and socializing. That left no time for recreational activities outdoors.
The Development of Hiking
Hiking started developing as a result of too many people in cities, which resulted in very unsanitary and unhealthy living conditions. There was waste of all types and diseases everywhere. This was problematic and one of the answers was for people to start moving outside of the cities, as well as to introduce huge parks and woodland areas to cities, which in turn prompted citizens to start walking.
During the period after the industrialization, massive timber harvesting and mining projects, the people became concerned that the land that they were in awe of might be gone. By the first half of the 20th century, hiking became one of America’s pastime activities, stemming from a care and love for nature, as well as the need to be outside cities.
Hiking Encouragement Projects and Further Developing Hiking as a Hobby
The 20th century saw a boom in hiking, particularly because there were many projects like the Boy Scouts and Campfire Girls which prompted children to become more active in the outdoors. That being said, hiking became quite the pastime, as more and more people wanted to get out of the cities.
Some extended the challenge to rock climbing or attempting to climb yet unclimbed peaks. The period past World War I and II saw an increase in the interest in hiking. The number of visitors in national parks went up by six times after World War II.
Hiking is a hobby which has had very humble and slow beginnings in the United States but grew to become a very popular hobby.