How You Know You’re Doing Hiking The Right Way

How You Know You're Doing Hiking The Right Way

Hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the United States, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails, in the countryside.

On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, the word walking is acceptable to describe all forms of walking, whether it is a walk in the park or backpacking in the Alps.The word hiking is also often used in the UK, along with rambling (a slightly old-fashioned term), hillwalking, and fell walking (a term mostly used for hillwalking in northern England). The term “bushwalking” is endemic to Australia, having been adopted by the Sydney Bush Walkers

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.John Muir

The word hiking is also often used in the UK, along with rambling (a slightly old-fashioned term), hillwalking, and fell walking (a term mostly used for hillwalking in northern England). The term “bushwalking” is endemic to Australia, having been adopted by the Sydney Bush Walkers club in 1927. In New Zealand, a long, vigorous walk or hike is called tramping. It is a popular activity with numerous hiking organizations worldwide, and studies suggest that all forms of walking have health benefits.

Long-distance Hiking

Frequently nowadays long-distance hikes are undertaken along long-distance paths, including the National Trails in England and Wales, the Kungsleden and the National Trail System in the United States.

The Grande Randonnée, Grote Routepaden, or Lange-afstand-wandelpaden, Grande Rota, Gran Recorrido is a network of long-distance footpaths in Europe, mostly in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.There are extensive networks in other European countries of long-distance trails, as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and to a lesser extent other Asiatic countries, like Turkey, Israel, and Jordan. In the Alps of Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, France, and Italy walking tours are often made from ‘hut-to-hut’, using an extensive system of mountain huts.

There are extensive networks in other European countries of long-distance trails, as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and to a lesser extent other Asiatic countries, like Turkey, Israel, and Jordan. In the Alps of Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, France, and Italy walking tours are often made from ‘hut-to-hut’, using an extensive system of mountain huts.

History

The idea of taking a walk in the countryside for pleasure developed in the 18th-century, and arose because of changing attitudes to the landscape and nature, associated with the Romantic movement. In earlier times walking generally indicated poverty and was also associated with vagrancy.

Equipment

The equipment required for hiking depends on the length of the hike, but day hikers generally carry at least water, food, a map, and rain-proof gear. Hikers usually wear sturdy hiking boots for mountain walking and backpacking, as protection from the rough terrain, as well as providing increased stability.

The Mountaineers club recommends a list of “Ten Essentials” equipment for hiking, including a compass, a trekking pole, sunglasses, sunscreen, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a fire starter, and a knife. Other groups recommend items such as a hat, gloves, insect repellent, and an emergency blanket. A GPS navigation device can also be helpful and route cards may be used as a guide.

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