What happens when the gentle whispers of the wind and the scenic landscapes around you lose their enchantment during a hike? Discover the secrets to keep boredom at bay while hiking, from immersive games to perfect playlists.
We’ve all heard of ways to beat boredom while camping, but no one talks about the humdrum of hiking trips. In the midst of nature’s wonders, boredom should have no place. Yet, like an uninvited companion, monotony can occasionally set in during a hike, diminishing the natural thrill of the great outdoors. The rhythmic crunch of gravel beneath your boots can become repetitive, and the seemingly endless trail may stretch into an unending loop of sameness. However, this feeling is not an inevitability but rather an opportunity for creativity. In these moments, hikers can reimagine their journey, transforming each step into a potential adventure.
As a hiker myself, boredom and I are quite familiar with each other. It sneaks up on me sometimes, like an unexpected rain shower on a sunny day, threatening to dampen my mood. As an experienced victim of boredom on the trail, I now know my way around its grasp—and now, you will, too!
Find a Hiking Buddy
For challenging or emotionally demanding hikes, it’s great to have a companion who will motivate you. But also, hiking with someone you’re comfortable with can have a profound effect on the quality of your hike—and your relationship with that person. Whether it’s someone you know well or someone you’ve recently met and want to get to know better, chatting for a few hours will help you learn so much about each other.
Plus, long hikes are a great chance to unwind, talk about any issues you’re going through and loosen up. There’s just something about the Great Outdoors that helps you find perspective. I remember the summer before my first year in university, I went hiking with a cousin. I immediately let it all out—all my fears and anxieties for this big new chapter of my life. I went on and on, and she listened, gave me much-needed advice and helped me feel better. That hike is now a fond memory of mine because of the companionship I had at the time.Unsplash
What better way to have fun than with contests? Turn your hike into a series of games or challenges. Play a friendly game of scavenger hunt, but to ensure that you Leave No Trace on your hikes, make it a spotting game—compete with your partners to find unique flora and fauna. Alternatively, try a simple counting game, like finding a certain number of bird species or identifying various plants along the way—this would be a great educational game for kids to play on the trail.
Perhaps you lean more towards mindful entertainment. Take a sketchbook or journal with you to capture the sights, sounds and scents of the trail. Let your mind wander, ponder on your thoughts and dreams or even compose narratives. Capture a sketch of each trail you hike as a souvenir for yourself or a postcard for a friend.
If you prefer solo hikes, I found a wonderful smartphone app that makes hiking an educational and stimulating adventure. Seek by iNaturalist is an app designed to identify plants and animals around you by using the power of image recognition. All you need to do is take a picture of the organism (carefully!) with your smartphone camera and the app will do the rest. This is especially fun for those of you who, like me, have a keen interest in learning about biological organisms. It’s just so cool!Unsplash
Tell Trailside Tales
My favourite way to pass the time during a hike is by talking to my hiking partners. We talk about life updates, old stories and everything in between. Otherwise, simply let your imagination roam free and make up spontaneous stories inspired by your surroundings. For vivid daydreamers like me, this is a hobby that is both intriguing and time-consuming—perfect for hikes. I mean, who wouldn’t fall under nature’s spell and make up a bunch of stories about the woods? Just me?
Ask each other fun questions to get the imagination machine flowing; if you could be any animal, what would you be? Would you rather live in the cold Arctic or a hot desert? What's your favourite season, and why?Unsplash
Perfect your Tunes and Playlists
Curating a hiking playlist that complements the rhythm of your trek can elevate your mood and make the hike more enjoyable. But make sure to avoid blasting your music on the trail to prevent impact on wildlife and possibly annoy fellow trekkers. A pair of Bluetooth headphones are a better choice. Choose tunes that match the energy of different trails. For a flat and easy trail, perhaps you can listen to calming, sentimental songs. For challenging hikes, consider upbeat and energetic songs. Music especially acts as a companion for solo hikers, filling the silence and creating a sense of company.
Not a big fan of music on the trail, but still want to listen to something? Well, no problem! Podcasts and audiobooks are a great way to multitask—you can expand your mind, finish that book and do a hike all at once.Unsplash
Looking for interesting podcasts to listen to? Explore Magazine’s Live the Adventure Podcast will connect you to intriguing outdoor personalities, providing you with wise words and amusing jokes that will keep you smiling throughout your hike. There are also many compelling Canadian adventure podcasts out there that are guaranteed to keep you entertained.