By: Chloe Seletz, Communications Intern 
When I am asked what my dream vacation would be, it is always a no brainer. Anywhere I can go hiking. I spent a portion of my childhood living in San Francisco which is where I discovered the beauty of hiking. Every Sunday, my family and I took advantage of the amazing trails California has to offer. Even at a young age, I remember the feeling of getting to the top of a mountain and seeing such mesmerizing views.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to travel and hike in many different places. Some of my favorites include Israel, Australia, Costa Rica, and Tennessee. As I have grown older I have noticed hiking has many different aspects; it can simply be walking on a flat surface exploring the streets of a new town. Or it can be a more strenuous activity on mountains where you are really living life on the edge.

Unlike other outdoor activities hiking is accessible to anyone year round. Of course there are places that have more opportunities than others, but just going out for a short walk in a park can be beneficial.
Surprisingly enough, hiking can be a social activity. I have made some of my closest friends while being outside. Going on such excursions, I have met amazing people and even strengthened relationships that I already had. On long hikes, it is great to have someone to talk to or give you a helping hand.
When looking forward to a hike I think about the views, the atmosphere, the workout, and the people. However, the feeling of happiness is most prominent. I have noticed that every time I finish a hike, I feel satisfied and peaceful. I believe that any type of exercise outside is great for your mental health. If I am not in the best mood, taking a 15-minute walk helps me feel so much better. Hiking is a great way to clear your head and put things in perspective.

Having recently moved to Pittsburgh, I preach this philosophy to many people. While I have not hiked as many trails as I may have hoped, I have explored the city to its fullest. Moving to a new city was originally a challenge; however, I can honestly say that walking around Pittsburgh’s different neighborhoods has been the greatest welcoming gift. It has made me a more independent and happier person. I try to walk as often as I can, to see new sights and improve my physical and mental health.
If you haven’t explored the streets of Pittsburgh, now is your time to start. I moved to the city believing there weren’t any places to hike, but I was pleasantly proven wrong. I look forward to my daily walks by the river every morning and I am excited to continue discovering new trails.