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The joys of senderismo

Senderos de México is an organization which catalogs, maintains and signposts trails (senderos) in Mexico. More than that, it promotes a concept called senderismo, a word I find almost impossible to translate into English.

pg7cIt is often translated as “hiking” but this strikes me as ponderously practical, somehow embodying exertion and perspiration, rather than exhilaration.

I see the word “hiking” as down to earth, while “senderismo” seems to float in the air like a fleecy cloud.

A few days ago, Senderos de México gave a presentation on “the experience of trail walking,” featuring two speakers: Matteo Volpi, a long-distance hiker and creator of the only ultralight knapsack made in Mexico; and Jesús “Chuy” Moreno, a nature photographer who teaches “hands-on natural science courses in the woods.”

Volpi spoke about his experience hiking along the 4,000-kilometer-long Pacific Crest Trail, stretching across the United States from its border with Mexico all the way to Canada.

Long-distance hiking emphasizes the sport aspect of senderismo. The hiker learns to travel light and travel far, all the while enjoying the panoramic vistas of mountains, forests and deserts, never losing sight of the aesthetic side of the experience.

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