Most people probably mistakenly interpret hiking as mountain climbing. While the mountains are indeed one of the best destinations for hiking, the essence of hiking and mountain climbing are different. You see, when you are hiking, you are not necessarily required to conquer a mountain. As long as it is considered as long, vigorous walk on trails, in the countryside for recreational purpose, then it is a hiking. Some people prefer a thrill or adventure on their hike and so they go for challenging destination like mountain or forest. Therefore, even if it is literally a walk in a park, if you think of that as vigorous enough, then that is also considered hiking.
Hiking is known all over the world in multiple terms, for example:
- Bushwhacking: Difficult walking through dense forest, undergrowth, or bushes, where progress forward requires pushing vegetation aside.
- Tramping: A general term used in New Zealand to call hiking.
- Trekking: Multi-day hiking in the mountainous regions.
- Backpacking: Multi-day hiking that is usually accompanied by
- A Day hike: A hike that can be completed in a single day.
As you can see, hiking doesn’t need to be multiple days.
Why should you go hiking? It is healthy, simple, affordable, and everlasting. Hiking doesn’t only keep you physically active, but can also be a perfect outlet to reduce stress and anxiety. All you need is the essentials to ‘survive’ in the wilderness, and you don’t even need to make a special purchase for it as most of them are probably stored in your drawer already. While hiking is best done in the spring and summer, but it can be done at any time of the year as long as you are prepared enough.
So, what should be in your hiking gear? The essentials would be navigation (map and compass), sun protection (sunscreen and sunglasses), rain-proof wear (including hiking boots and hat), illumination (flashlight, headlamp, and extra batteries), first aid kit, fire starting gear, repair tool kit (knife, multi-tool, and repair supplies), nutrition (food and extra food), hydration, and emergency shelter. Additionally, a trekking pole will be helpful when your hiking involves climbing. Also, whistles or bells will be useful to avoid animal or bear.
Now it’s time to decide where you want to hike. Each country has several major destinations. In Continental Europe, there are the alps. As for the United Kingdom, the Lake District, Snowdonia, and Scottish Highland are the perfect places. For the American, obviously, it will be National Trail System, including Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, 19 national historic trails, and over 1,200 national recreation trails.
Have fun and be safe!