What is the difference between a walk and a hike?
I found myself asking that very question as I walked along Taylor Dock with a friend today. We had a great time as we walked, and it felt absolutely wonderful to be outside in the sunshine. The coffee and conversation made for a wonderful break in the afternoon, but I didn’t break a sweat. I wore my regular shoes and we basically just loitered the entire duration of our walk. It was a beautiful day to enjoy a stroll and the view. The sun was shining so gloriously on the newest addition to our waterfront, Grace.
Grace is art, gorilla art. A beautifully graceful steel and rivited sculpture snuck in by an anonymous artist in the middle of the night during a low tide and mounted to tin island (a pile of tin scraps left over from the hay day of foundary work along the antique Fairhaven waterfront.) Snuck in during the dark in order to avoid the complex permitting process for such a piece of art, her beauty is appreciated by all.
But it was during this walk that I found myself questioning the difference between a hike and a walk. You see, with 2012 being the year in which I turn sixty, I am well on my way to meeting a goal of completing sixty hikes before my sixtieth birthday. (You can go here – Sixty Before Sixty – to read about those hikes.)
Today my friend and I walked approximately 1-1/2 miles in and around Fairhaven, along a portion of the South Bay Trail, along Taylor Dock, over Pattle Point and around Boulevard Park, but I did not consider this walk a hike. Today we walked slowly. We strolled really. We chatted (even a little about the difference about a walk and a hike). Often we stopped along our route to enjoy the waterfront views. At Boulevard Park, we stopped in at Wood’s Coffee, ordered coffees and sat outside for practically an hour as we sipped our drinks and continued our conversation.
That was when I realized the difference between a walk and a hike!
You see, last month, I did categorize some of the same walk route as today as a hike (you can go here – South Bay Trail – to read about that hike). Last month’s South Bay Trail hike consisted of a brisk walk of well over five miles in snowy conditions. I wore my hiking boots, I carried my pack, the conditions were harsh and I broke a sweat. It was not just a stroll, nor did I loiter. I got some good exercise out of my effort. That’s the difference!
The basic Wikipedia definition of a hike is, “Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails“.