I love to hike, and I’m very fortunate that my friends do too. We live in Northern Ontario, so the hiking trails are seemingly endless as you drive up the shoreline of Lake Superior. We hike during all four seasons because every view changes with the temperature. My favorite trek in the area so far has been The Nokomis Trail, overlooking Old Woman Bay.
Nokomis Trail, ON
View from one of the lookouts – Nokomis Trail, ON
King Mountain, Stokley Creek
A New Way to Hike
Have you heard of earthing? Some people also call it “grounding”- both refer to walking barefoot on an all natural surface (think sand, grass, soil etc.). The concept of earthing was once reserved for the type of hippies you’d see at Woodstock, but not anymore. Science has conducted studies that state earthing can help improve sleep, benefit the heart, and reduce inflammation and chronic pain.
The shoe was only invented 3600 years ago, and those shoes were more of a leather moccasin. Before that, human beings weren’t wearing anything on their feet at all, let alone anything that resembles a Nike shoe. We’ve evolved from having tough feet that could withstand almost any terrain, to having soft soles with weak muscles. This has affected our posture, causing knee, back, and neck pain.
Human beings crave negative ions. In today’s world, our bodies are flooded with pro-inflammatory positive ions, caused by our electronics that give off any kind of signal. Cell phones, laptops, microwaves- anything with a power source really. These all emit electromagnetic frequencies that are doing more harm than good. We need to disconnect from these devices, and what better way than to get a healthy dose of Earth’s energy?
Earthing has also been proven to balance our emotional and mental stability, creating an overall sense of well-being. When you walk barefoot, you have to be mindful of where you step. This brings your focus into the present moment and can help tremendously for people who are experiencing anxiety and depression.
So after doing a little bit of research, I decided to just go for it. I was on my way home from a concert in Ottawa when I pulled over on the side of the highway in North Bay. I left my shoes in the car, and started up the Duchesnay Falls trail.
Earthing at Duchesnay Falls
I loved hiking barefoot. I’d like to try a more intense trail next summer, as common sense won’t allow me to try it in the colder months. The trails in Ontario are usually well-kept, so I wasn’t too worried about stepping on anything too dangerous, but I would advise you to still be cautious. It’s always good to bring a pair of shoes in your bag just in case you change your mind halfway up the hill (and baby wipes, because no one wants muddy feet in their car).