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What constitutes a hike?
Old 09-23-2021, 04:27 PM
  #1

I always feel envious of those that say they went on a hike. It just sounds so much better than a walk. So my question is what makes a hike a hike?


To me, a hike is walking through rough terrain, in a woods, along some sort of water, or on a mountainside. How far off am I?


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Old 09-23-2021, 04:44 PM
  #2

I think of a hike as a walk in the woods, going uphill and down, on a trail. I walk by the ocean most days but there's no elevation change. To me , that's not a hike.
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Old 09-23-2021, 04:45 PM
  #3

I'm doing the 52 Hike Challenge this year. (It's a worldwide challenge, you can look it up.) There is always LOTS of talk about this. They basically say to make your own rules because so much of it depends on physical ability and location. They recommend at least a mile.

My "rules" are at least a 3 mile hike in nature. I wish I lived near mountains or somewhere real exciting, but I don't, so I've gone on numerous hikes in forest preserves. I've also traveled quite a bit to get my hikes in.

Some people on my hiking pages say it needs to be 1 mile...others say no less than 10 miles!

So make it what you want it to be! Whatever kind of hike brings you joy is a hike that counts.
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Old 09-23-2021, 05:12 PM
  #4

I think the location is what makes a hike a hike. I also don't necessarily think there needs to be elevation gain. I do agree it should be on a trail (or not on a trail, but not on concrete) in nature. There are many areas where going up and down isn't possible, but you can walk through the woods. I would call it a hike.

For me a 1 mile hike isn't worth the time, although that may not always be true. But I don't think distance is what makes a hike hike-worthy. If a mile is what you can do or have time for, then better that than nothing.
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Old 09-23-2021, 05:21 PM
  #5

I agree that a hike is on a trail, not a paved path. I also consider a hike to have natural terrain and some level of natural obstacles (like rocks, elevation changes, narrow path at points, possible tree roots etc. - something that makes it more rugged than strolling on a path.)

To me, distance doesn't matter at all. There's one beach I go to that has a 1/4 mile "hike" to access it. It's short, but it's rugged - very different that if someone said there was a 1/4 mile path to the beach. One I would take anyone that could walk, the other I would only take people willing to "hike." (I wouldn't, however, consider going that short a distance "going hiking." )



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Old 09-23-2021, 05:25 PM
  #6

To me a hike is 5 uncivilized miles, a trail through woods, maybe around a lake. Not paved and not flatódefinitely climbing/downhill involved.

I walk a few miles every day, but to me thatís not hiking.
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Old 09-23-2021, 06:00 PM
  #7

I agree with many of the other comments. A hike is in a natural setting, not a city green space for example. There doesn’t have to be elevation changes but a hike is on natural terrain. I often walk on a paved path through woods—that is a walk, not a hike. I don’t think of a certain mileage requirement but one mile, to me, would rarely be a hike. A hike is more physically challenging than a walk.

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Old 09-23-2021, 07:00 PM
  #8

A hike is off sidewalk/road. I don't attach a distance to it. You can go on a short hike or a long hike. What makes a hike a hike (to me) is walking on natural land. You can hike on a path made of dirt.
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different process
Old 09-23-2021, 07:16 PM
  #9

When I think of a hike I think of switchbacks, steep inclines, definitely different attire like hiking boots, moleskin, mini backpack with food, and when I reach a given destination with a given purpose I rest up , stop to eat, and then muster up enough energy to return back when I started from. I don't think about what else I need to do because I'm actually doing it for most of the day. And most important I would never hike alone.

When I walk the lake (2 1/2 miles) in the mountains where I live I do none of these things I mentioned above. I mostly walk alone either listening to music or talking on my cell phone. I walk rather briskly before it gets too hot and I never stop to put my feet in the water . There is no destination except to get back to my car after a peaceful serene walk.
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trails
Old 09-23-2021, 08:30 PM
  #10

Just a different perspective for all of you.

I am now confined to a wheelchair after years and years of hiking on rough terrain, up mountains and down into creeksides. Once when I was five months pregnant, my husband and I hiked up the side of Mount Ranier following a deer trail until the snow got so high we couldn't walk anymore.

It was a favorite past time of mine.

So now, I find hikes that have boardwalks or gravel paths. There are plenty listed on All Trails for my area, and also listed for your state if you need that kind of trail. There are also other sites that list wheelchair friendly hikes. Sometimes it's just a single-lane gravel road that heads in to a picnic spot that the Nature Conservancy has bought.

So to me, a hike is an opportunity to get out in nature and move through it. That's all. I've been on some amazing hikes out here. Missing what I can't do anymore is a thought I don't allow to dwell in my mind. I find ways to move around that "obstacle". I'm simply glad to be alive and living in a state that is so progressive about building all sorts of trails.

https://www.alltrails.com/us/maine/a...s...%20More%20

This photo was taken along the Ship Harbor Trail in Acadia. It was a beautiful morning and the fog was still out on the water. I went with my niece, her boyfriend, my brother and his wife, my son, and a couple of small poodles. There was one small part I couldn't get over with the chair, so they all lifted it over the obstacle while my son helped me over it, and then we continued on out to the ocean. Side note: There was a guy on the way back hiking by himself and he raced up to help lift the chair over the obstacle and
he had the biggest smile on his face. People seem to react very positively to seeing me out there enjoying nature. I get huge smiles all the time.

One of my ancestors way back settled on this land, and when his wife died, he moved onto the shore into a small little shack and build boats in here on the calm waters of this little bay. In the winter, he moved in with one of his sons back into the little town located about two miles through the woods on the right side of this photo.


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hike
Old 09-23-2021, 08:59 PM
  #11

I love to walk and I love to hike. Like other PPs I consider it a hike when it is on an unpaved trail, has elevation gain and loss, is wilder than a manicured city park, has expansive views, and preferably few people around. Where I live we have many opportunities for hiking, from short (1-3 mile) to challenging (15+ miles). There are urban hikes through what we call canyons here, hikes through nature reserves, hikes through desert and mountains. We have some hiking groups that do peak challenges, and a few years ago I did the 5 peak challenge in one of the nearby regional parks. The lowest peak was 1094' and the highest 1592'.
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Old 09-24-2021, 02:36 AM
  #12

timeforbed, I love your post!

What constitutes a hike is all a matter of perspective!

My dd thinks a hike involves a backpack and at least one overnight (4 or 5 is better). She's done all the 4,000 ft peaks in NH and the 100 Mile Wilderness section of the AT.

I think if it's in nature (even in town, we have tree lined trails that follow the river) and not completely flat, it's a hike. Less than a mile could be a "hike" if it's up to a mountain bluff. More than three miles on the relatively flat rail trail is a "hike". If I have to stop for a rest and some water, it's a "hike". Usually if I'm "hiking" I am moving purposefully toward a goal, whereas "walking" is a more ambling pace.
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hike vs walk
Old 09-24-2021, 03:30 AM
  #13

I've had this discussion a few times! To me, the difference has always been the terrain not the distance. So interesting to hear different perspectives.

Here is one chart that compares the 2:
https://www.verywellfit.com/hit-the-...f-road-3435573
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Old 09-24-2021, 04:39 AM
  #14

Quote:
So to me, a hike is an opportunity to get out in nature and move through it.
I love this. So true. Hike your own hike. Hiking is for everyone. I also am a big Alltrails fan!
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Old 09-24-2021, 05:14 AM
  #15

I don't have a minimum distance to call it a hike, although I generally won't travel to a trail for only a mile or two. The exception might be if I'm going waterfalling, but then I don't call it hiking. I don't necessarily need to have significant elevation changes to call it a hike, but many of my favorite places to hike around here double as cross-country ski trails so they do have a fair amount of up and down. It needs to be in a natural setting and there needs to be something about it that makes it more challenging than walking in town.
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Old 09-24-2021, 01:46 PM
  #16

Such an interesting question. I live in a rural area and we have paths through the woods with an elevation change. The terrain and environment certainly qualify it as a hike. But to me it is all about mindset. I walk my dog there in the morning and evenings. Usually I'm wearing tennis shoes. Sometimes (rarely) I wear flip-flops in summer. I never carry a backpack, snacks, or first aid supplies. I'm walking it with the purpose of walking the dog, not enjoying nature or challenging myself (those are bonuses). So to me it is a walk, not a hike.
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Old 09-24-2021, 02:35 PM
  #17

Wonderful that you have trails that can accommodate your adventure. I am so happy you can get out and enjoy your environment!
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Old 09-25-2021, 08:07 PM
  #18

I thought os this thread today on a 7 mile roundtrip walk to a lighthouse. At the beginning of it, DH and I agreed walking on the beach was walk. By mile 4, we both agreed it was a hike! Loose rocks the entire way and the tide was in so no firm sand to walk on.(i was convinced about a mile in.)
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Old 09-26-2021, 07:48 AM
  #19

I have walked on a beach, and I have hiked on a beach. I definitely agree!
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