Monday, May 25, 2009

5 Questions About Hiking

For me, one of the easiest ways to get outside and get fit is to go hiking. I do throw the term around loosely so I thought I'd bring you some definitions and links to clarify a few things about it.

1. Okay, so what is "hiking"?

Here in Los Angeles we have trails galore that include around Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon, and Malibu just to name a few. You'll see folks very serious about getting fit and wearing workout clothes or hiking gear and others that look like they're ready to head out to a club. I'm in the serious group myself. Well, serious around here for a city girl. I won't be camping in the wilderness or anything and some might not even consider what I do to be "real" hiking. Basically, hiking here means everything from a leisurely walk to actual physical activity with actual gear. That's the beauty of hikes in this area - there are trails for whatever level of activity you want.

2. Where can I find hiking in my area?

A good place to start is the website for the American Hiking Society (AHS). The Away website also has information on hiking spots and trips. The latter is more of a travel site but it has some good links.

3. Are there any events that can introduce me to hiking?

The AHS is hosting the annual National Trails Day on June 6, 2009. Here is the description:

"National Trails Day® is a celebration of trails that evolved from the report of President Ronald Reagan's President's Commission on Americans Outdoors. In 1987, the report recommended that all Americans be able to go out their front doors and within fifteen minutes, be on trails that wind through their cities or towns and bring them back without retracing steps. The recommendation, dubbed Trails for All Americans, became the impetus behind several public and private parties joining American Hiking Society in launching National Trails Day® in 1993.

Trails do not just appear for our enjoyment, it takes many hours of planning, labor, and negotiating to develop them. National Trails Day®, the only nationwide celebration of trails, brings awareness to trails and thanks many people and partners for their support and hard work, including volunteers, land agencies, and outdoor minded businesses. It is also a day to introduce people to the many joys and benefits of trails."

4. How will I know what type of hiking I want to do?

You can research the links above or even visit an REI store near you. You can find knowledgeable staff and some have classes to introduce you to hiking and other outdoor activities in your area.

5. Are there any other sources of hiking information?

I found a few interesting hiking blogs that will give you a great idea of the different people and places:

Two-Heel Drive

The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog

Oregon Trails

Southern Hiker

Gear Talk

Superior Hiking


Lindsay said...

Yeah, I never know what to consider hiking or just a walk. I consider hiking when I'm out on a trail at least a little bit out from civilization. Ace and I love to hike! We love the Superior Hiking Trail. I was happy you mentioned it.

Apryl DeLancey said...

Yeah, today we walked on a trail in the hills so I usually consider that a hike. When we go on a really long walk through neighborhoods I usually call that a walk. Again, because I just carry some water on the trails and not a bunch of gear there are those that believe that I am just on a walk. To each their own.

JP said...

I enjoyed your post on what is considered "hiking."

I heard a comedian say today that hiking is just walking where it is ok to pee outside.

Don't know why, but I thought that was hilarious.

To me hiking is going somewhere by foot where you're exposed to some level of nature.

I wouldn't say I was taking a hike through a city or neighborhood, but I would take a hike through a park if it were large enough. If it's called a trail, I'd venture to say it's a hike. Just my humble opinion. Thanks for the link to SouthernHiker.

Apryl DeLancey said...

I can totally understand how someone from Georgia wouldn't get just how big Griffith Park is. The "park" term isn't really accurate. It's like saying the city of Monterey Park is just a park since it has the word in it's name.

"Griffith Park is a gem sitting right in Los Feliz’s backyard. Sprawling some 4,000+ acres, it’s the largest publicly owned park in the United States. "

By the way, 4,000 acres = 6.25 square miles.

Los Angeles is a very big place and we definitely have hiking where we are exposed to dirt trails, wildflowers, coyotes, snakes, and a host of other "nature".

Of course, since our city is so big there is a group that does "urban hiking" where they take a day to discover what is in one of our very large neighborhoods. That, however, is not what I am referring to here.

I guess my pictures were too much on the tops of the hikes where you could see the city, which is quite awesome.