Hiking is an outdoor activity typically performed in scenic terrain on established hiking or multi-purpose trails. Hiking is a global activity and most outings take place in mountainous environments, but not always as hiking can be enjoyed in any outdoor medium. For millennia, people have walked as a primary mode of transportation, so hiking is an activity, which many hikers feel connects them to humanity.
There are many forms of hiking that have developed throughout the existence of the sport. Day hiking is very common and involves the completion of a hike in one day, not requiring the essentials for an overnight stay. Multi-day hikes or long distance hikes, commonly referred to as backpacking, involves extra equipment for overnight or multiple-night camping. In the UK this is called rambling, Australia and New Zealand call this bushwalking or tramping, and other regions of the world call this form of hiking, trekking or thru-hiking. Camping in the wilderness requires a larger backpack for supplies, and backpackers may also venture where there is no trail. In such instances a backpacker may find themselves in off-trail scenarios like a scramble or rock climb. Having the necessary supplies and navigation equipment are essential for backpacking. Other forms of hiking that have developed over time include ultralight backpacking, Nordic walking, and heli-hiking.
Popular hikes around the world include but are not limited to The Appalachian Trail, Bruce Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, North Country Trail, Cape to Cape Track, Kokoda Trail, El Camino de Santiago, The GR5 (a system of long-distance paths in Europe), and the Inca Trails. Mountain ranges such as The Canadian Rockies, Pyrenees, Alps, and Dolomites are world renowned for hiking.
There is certain etiquette that comes with hiking because of the potential environmental impact and popularity of the sport. Leave no trace is a very common rule followed by hikers in order to remove any sign of human activity, minimize the impact on the earth, and to preserve the natural environment for future generations. Many hiking clubs have been established around the world in order to educate hikers on the importance of global environmental stewardship.
As with any sport, hiking does not come without potential hazards. Being in the wilderness can lead to an interaction with wildlife, noxious plants, bacteria, and dangerous terrain. Proper resources are abundant in the form of first aid kits, skin protectants, navigation tools, and guidebooks, so the responsibility is on the hiker to be informed about such hazards and notify others of their intended hike. Knowledge of international borders are important for those hiking near a country’s boundary.
Hiking is a low-impact form of exercise, which allows one to be as challenged as they desire and see the outdoors in any country on any continent. Hiking allows one to have a dialogue with the earth, contemplating and immersing themselves in the natural wonders of the world untouched by human evolution and expansion.
The World Beyond the WorldUsing text adapted from Robert Marshalls "Alaska Wilderness: Exploring the Brooks Range" (1929) and images from Expedition Arguk (2013), "The World Beyond the World" aims to celebrate that most ancient and sublime of human pleasures: moving through a