Hik­ing has cre­ated an av­enue for us to talk, share opin­ions, rea­son to­gether and un­der­stand our dif­fer­ences. I must add that it has re­duced the amount of idle­ness we find our­selves in as young peo­ple, which has helped in curb­ing evil de­sires

Sunday Trust - - SUNDAY MAGAZINE - By Dor­cas Daniel

Hik­ing is be­com­ing a pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity in Nige­ria. Peo­ple from dif­fer­ent back­grounds, reli­gions and eth­nic groups now en­gage in this out­door ac­tiv­ity, which en­tails a vig­or­ous walk around the en­vi­ron­ment to en­joy fresh air, ex­er­cise and ex­plore the beauty of na­ture, usu­ally around moun­tain­ous ar­eas.

Dur­ing my first hik­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, the no­tion I had of a thor­ough work­out was dis­proved by the over­whelm­ing ef­fect of breath­tak­ing views of na­ture and new dis­cov­er­ies.

The rocks, colour­ful flow­ers, green-grassy plains and water­falls, all dis­played an over­whelm­ing land­scape that some­how took away the agony of climb­ing up and down slopes as we trudged the dis­tance.

The A’cube Hik­ing Group, which vi­sion is to in­spire a new era of love as the watch­word in Jos, the Plateau State cap­i­tal, gave me an un­for­get­table hik­ing ex­pe­ri­ence filled with les­sons that will last a life­time.

We had more than four hours of hik­ing jour­ney, which started from Farin Gada, as well as two hours of climb­ing moun­tains be­hind the ECWA Staff School. There was also an hour of learn­ing how to swim in the Beyla Wa­ter­fall, af­ter which we rounded off with an hour of dis­cus­sion about life as youths.

Peter Daniel, the co-founder of the A’cube Hik­ing Group, said he loved hik­ing be­cause its ex­pe­ri­ence was help­ing to shape him into a lov­ing per­son.

“I love na­ture and ad­ven­tures. I’ll gladly in­dulge in any­thing that will ex­pose me to th­ese two. I hike to ex­pe­ri­ence and ap­pre­ci­ate na­ture, as well as take pic­tures of beau­ti­ful scener­ies and per­spec­tives. The ad­ven­tur­ous jour­ney is a plus.

“I hike to have some lone time to clear my head, think, plan, pray and write.

“Also, the fun can­not be rel­e­gated. Hik­ing with friends, fam­i­lies, and some­times new peo­ple, is re­ally fun. The laugh­ter, mer­ri­ment, the eat­ing and the risk; yes risk, are re­ally recre­ational for me. Not for­get­ting new friends and get­ting to know the old ones even bet­ter,” Daniel said.

He fur­ther said hik­ing had been a great chan­nel to curb idle­ness and dis­unity, es­pe­cially in the lives of Jos youths, who en­joy shar­ing and en­cour­ag­ing one an­other.

“I will like to first make the point that with­out peace, we can’t hike. Our hik­ing jour­ney so far has brought dif­fer­ent tribes, reli­gions and peo­ple with dif­fer­ent be­liefs to­gether un­der the um­brella of fun, re­lax­ation and pas­sion.

“Hik­ing has cre­ated an av­enue for us to talk, share opin­ions, rea­son to­gether and un­der­stand our dif­fer­ences. I must add that it has re­duced the amount of idle­ness we find our­selves in as young peo­ple, which has helped in curb­ing evil de­sires,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Daniel, grippy but light shoes; light clothes; ad­vis­ably, long trousers (in case of thorns); dark glasses; back­pack, con­tain­ing light snacks, wa­ter/ en­ergy drink; face towel; cam­era/ phone; any form of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and money, are the ba­sic needs for hik­ing. Also needed are first aid ma­te­ri­als (plas­ters, pain re­liev­ing drugs, glu­cose, methy­lated spirit, cot­ton wool) in case of in­jury.

He said hik­ing could foster peace and unity, which a coun­try needs to grow.

“Dis­cov­er­ies of beau­ti­ful places and scener­ies can bring in­vestors to de­velop parks, game re­serves, re­sorts, among oth­ers. This helps in cre­at­ing more at­trac­tive places for tourists, which will cre­ate job op­por­tu­ni­ties and boost our econ­omy,” he fur­ther said.

On the chal­lenges of hik­ing, Daniel said, “One rule in hik­ing is: All for one and one for all. So some­times when some­thing hap­pens to one per­son, it af­fects the whole move­ment. Some­times the weak ones slow the move­ment.

Fear is an­other chal­lenge as it crip­ples the set goals of a hik­ing group.”

He, how­ever, said th­ese chal­lenges had taught him how to trust, tol­er­ate and ap­pre­ci­ate the dy­namism in peo­ple. The chal­lenges have also boosted his think­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, while teach­ing him how to ap­pre­ci­ate God for ev­ery­thing, from na­ture to all its in­hab­i­tants.

Ab­dul­fa­tia Ab­du­latif, a pho­tog­ra­pher, said hik­ing was a bet­ter way to see the world and ex­plore a few hours away from the city. He said the ex­pe­ri­ence had helped him to ap­pre­ci­ate life and diver­sity in peo­ple. He added that hik­ing had ex­posed him to peo­ple who pa­tro­n­ised his trade.

“Hik­ing has been fun and re­fresh­ing for me. It has re­ally helped and still help­ing to bridge the gap be­tween re­li­gious and cul­tural diver­sity among Jos youths. Through hik­ing, I have met peo­ple from dif­fer­ent parts of Nige­ria, and we still keep in touch. I some­times visit them.

“When hik­ing, I for­get about our dif­fer­ences in tribe, re­li­gion, cul­ture and be­lief. This helps us to curb the de­sire to look down on one an­other eas­ily be­cause good relationships have been cre­ated from all the in­ter­ac­tions and times spent to­gether.

“Nige­ria is a beau­ti­ful coun­try with cap­ti­vat­ing land­scapes wait­ing to be ex­plored; and hik­ing is a way to get na­ture to bring us to­gether, ir­re­spec­tive of who you are,” he said.

Also, Jamkat Jen­nifer Ame­hze, a seam­stress, be­lieves that hik­ing has helped in build­ing peace and pro­mot­ing unity in Jos.

“There is a sense of to­geth­er­ness when hik­ing, as we have the op­por­tu­nity to help one an­other, es­pe­cially when climb­ing hills, to achieve our goal.

Ex­press­ing her thoughts on her first hik­ing ex­pe­ri­ence she said, “I was a lit­tle un­sure about go­ing be­cause it was out of my com­fort zone. So I was a bit ner­vous. I didn’t know what food or snack to bring and the ap­pro­pri­ate cloths to wear, but I am glad I hiked. It was fun and I loved it!” she said.

Sim­i­larly, Gideon Numdy Zomo said hik­ing was one way the so­ci­ety could pro­mote unity and peace, adding that his per­spec­tive about other peo­ple’s be­liefs and cul­tures has be­come more ac­com­mo­dat­ing as a re­sult of in­ter­ac­tion with dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

“When hik­ing, Chris­tians, Mus­lims and tra­di­tion­al­ists come to­gether and re­late with one an­other as one fam­ily. Per­son­ally, I have met a lot of peo­ple from other reli­gions who are now my friends. And we do so many other things to­gether, even af­ter hik­ing.

“I think hik­ing is one of the coolest things to do in pro­mot­ing peace.

“The as­pect of one-on-one dis­cus­sion with some­one you are meet­ing for the first time helps you to cre­ate a new re­la­tion­ship, which in turn teaches you to ac­com­mo­date and re­spect other peo­ple’s ways of life,” he said.

Zomo said hik­ing had re­vealed some hid­den sites that could at­tract tourists to Nige­ria and serve as a source of in­come and em­ploy­ment to many youths.

“We have dis­cov­ered water­falls, swimmable la­goons and mini pools that can at­tract tourists to our coun­try.

“A lot of Nige­ri­ans travel to Hawaii and pay mil­lions to have the same fun. I think we should bring this back home and de­velop our coun­try so that oth­ers can come and pay the same fee to have fun here,” he said.

Zomo called on both the gov­ern­ment and spon­sors to sup­port and en­cour­age youths who use hik­ing to pro­mote peace and unity in the state.

While hik­ing, get­ting to know the right lo­ca­tions and how to nav­i­gate your way is very im­por­tant. Be­cause of this, Dung Noah Dung, a shoe de­signer and maker, who was also re­ferred to as “our map,” be­came our guide.

As his nick­name im­plies, Dung was al­ways a mile ahead to di­rect us to beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tions be­cause he is very fa­mil­iar with the moun­tains and all the beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tions we needed to ex­plore.

He said fa­mil­iaris­ing with moun­tains was a nor­mal thing for him be­cause he was born and brought up in a moun­tain­ous area.

Dung re­vealed that hik­ing be­came part of his life and source of in­come af­ter a friend in­tro­duced him to it four years ago.

So far, he has been able to dis­cover beau­ti­ful sites like the Kura Falls, Kerang Spring, Farin Ruwa Wa­ter­fall, among oth­ers.

He said hik­ing could bring a coun­try or state to lime­light while pro­mot­ing peace and unity.

“Hik­ing im­proves cor­dial relationships, which in turn foster team­work and in­crease productivity.

“In the as­pect of tourism and peace, more can be dis­cov­ered from hik­ing as it cre­ates a plat­form for dif­fer­ent peo­ple with dif­fer­ent be­liefs to come to­gether on a dif­fer­ent level. So I en­cour­age cor­po­rate or­gan­i­sa­tions to in­dulge in hik­ing,” Dung said.

A’ cube Hik­ing Group at Old Lamingo dam, Eto­b­aba moun­tains, Jos

Old Lamingo dam, Eto­b­aba, Jos

The group while hik­ing at Old Lamingo dam, Eto­b­aba moun­tains, Jos

The A’ cube Hik­ing Group ex­plor­ing Beyla Moun­tains, be­hind ECWA Staff School, Jos

The group dis­plays at Old Lamingo dam, Eto­b­aba moun­tains, Jos

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