The New York character in a movie, referring to being forgotten or left out of a group activity, complains, "What am I? chopped liver?!" This is what people who do "regular old walking" have to endure. I'd like walking to start to get the respect it deserves for helping people to maintain fitness and overall health versus ONLY using the term "hiking" to refer both hiking and walking. Lumping them together ramps up walking to too high an octane, and devalues the extra notch up that hiking entails.
Hiking to me implies a higher level of vigor, more challenging terrain, driving a distance away out to the hills or woods (increased carbon footprint--no small thing), requiring packing along some sort of provisions (snacks, a meal, extra water, for example) and other elements of advance planning. Also, it requires an investment of time that puts it mostly in the category of weekend activity versus being something that might occur several times during the workweek. I go hiking, too, just not very frequently.
Also, with challenging terrain comes a higher chance of injury, and not everyone is able to traverse a hillside strewn with boulders or whatever a hiking trail might throw in a hiker's way. Walking is an activity of choice for many, many more people.
Why don't we acknowledge the perfectly honorable activity of walking in the REI family of outdoor activities, and welcome in tens of millions more potential members into our co-op who would then see themselves and their own chosen activity respected and represented among the ones that REI champions...and be influenced to buy lots of all-weather gear with which to practice it?
Finally, as remote as it may seem now, if luck will be with them, some day each GenX, GenY, Millennial and GenZ may be older and for whatever reason may be needing to be a little more cautious. Do former-hikers-turned-resolute-walkers then feel as though they are demoted to a "less than" status? As a walker, are they then erased from the exalted realm of "real" activities, no longer seeing their preferred outdoor activity mentioned on the signage and branding of "their" co-op?
Walkers wear the same performance layers as any hiker if they walk year-round, and the same Smartwool socks, merino hats, insulated gloves and boots. Over the course of a year, walkers arguably rack up more mileage. Walkers deserve props! 🌲🌲🌲🌳🌲
@WinterWalker, I have a friend with some British background who refers to all of our hikes as "walks". Of course, if you can speak with a British or European accent, everything you say sounds sophisticated and right.
Keep on walking!
One of the advantages in calling everything a "hike" is that purchases are easily (or, more easily) justified here at home.
"Honey, I *had* to buy a new day pack for all my hiking" went over waaaaaaaay better than "Honey, I *had* to buy a new day pack for all my walking". LOL
Seriously, though, you make an excellent point, @WinterWalker . I walk multiple times a week - even in Winter - but hike once a week. However, regardless of whether I am out for a walk or out hiking, I do wear the same type of clothing, pay attention to layering, and so on.
And Nordic Walking is one of the best forms of exercise and can be done by virtually anyone at any age. I have a pair of Nordic tips for my trekking poles and they're as clean and dust-free as the day I bought them... (gotta change that)