A recent sunset stroll to the Makapuu Lighthouse made me realize just how much society loves their smart phones. We manage to stay connected to the virtual world, despite what’s happening around us; even on a hike – when we’re surrounded by natural beauty – we sometimes find ourselves glued to handheld devices.

But it was the couple checking their Facebooks on the way up to the lighthouse that really got me! With a phone in hand, they each thumbed through their screens – their noses pretty much touching the phones. I saw that they were on Facebook when I hurried to overtake them. Maybe they did the hike a million times and were just plain bored, or maybe they were just giving each other the silent treatment. Did they even notice the whales breaching off shore!? Or the show-stopping sunset up ahead?

Of course, it’s none of my business. But I just thought it was so funny! And then as I neared the top, I overheard someone say, “Try wait. I want to Instagram this.” She was taking a picture of #Rabbit Island. That made me chuckle. It also got me wondering if that “golden shot” has become the true reason we force ourselves to the top of a mountain? If so, then there’s a definite plus to having our smart phones on hand. Motivation to get moving!

I’m not opposed to lugging phones along on hikes, especially if it means getting that awesome shot or video clip (or, making emergency calls). It’s just so much easier than carrying a point-and-shoot; not to mention, so much cooler, too. Those panoramic photo apps can do wonders for a shot.

But nature has always been my escape from all that technology jazz and the noise and headache it often brings us. To me, that’s the whole point of hiking; not to see what my Facebook friends are doing at the moment. I think they’ll manage just fine without me for the two hours I’m away. After all, it’s the experience and the memories you’re making that really matter. Not having the most “Likes” or coolest status updates on social media. #TechnologyObsessed.

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