What is hiking? The attempt of a definition

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    What is hiking? The attempt of a definition

    Walking is an activity of the legs - and a state of the soul

    Josef Hofmiller

    This motto from the Allgäu writer and enthusiastic wanderer Josef Hofmiller meets the core of the reviving enthusiasm for hiking. In a healthy way, the athletic performance of the legs or the whole body is trained, and at the same time being on the move and experiencing nature gives a unique feeling of relaxation and grandeur.

    But now the question arises: when does this feeling set in? What is hiking? Because, of course, not every form of travel on foot is equal to hiking. First of all, you can hike to a specific purpose, as carpenters do today on the Walz. In general, we mean hiking is a walking locomotion as an end in itself. So hiking for the sake of hiking.

    However, a Sunday city stroll or a walk in the park have no other purpose than walking, too. So is every walker a hiker? Hardly likely! That already tells you your gut feeling. A representative survey by the German Hiking Association, on what is commonly understood by the term "hiking", comes to the following definition: Hiking is walking in the countryside. It is a recreational activity with varying degrees of physical stimulation that promotes mental and physical well-being. Accordingly, a hike is typically a duration of more than one hour and is based on appropriate planning. The hiker uses a specific infrastructure and adapted equipment.

    The physical challenge the hiker faces can be quite significant! There's a special hype in long distance hiking, which is called new-fashioned as Thru-Hiking. Through the books of Bill Bryson and Cheryl Strayed as well as the filming of "Wild - The Big Trip", the long us-american trails are currently in fashion. And so is the St. James, which, as it is well known, always starts on your own doorstep, has seen a huge increase in pilgrims and hikers through various books.

    Pilgrims are probably the most original form of hiking, which also places Hofmiller's thoughts on the soul in the center of the hiking experience. But even for less religiously motivated people, there is an explanation why hiking is so incredibly beneficial: the experience of the flow, the absolute absorption and immersion in an activity, can be set with sufficiently long walks. Psychologists who have explored this condition describe flow as the state of a blissful activity, all the way to ecstatic trance. That should motivate you to try hiking.

    Skill is the measure of choice

    Paul Preuss

    Ultimately, it does not matter if you go hiking, mountain climbing, Nordic walking or on pilgrimage. With all subtle nuances and well-defined differences in the design of the wandering, one's own motivation and well-being are the focus. It is important that the requirements on the physical and mental ability of the hiker fit and that you are neither under nor overstrained. "Skill is the measure of choice" is the basic principle of Paul Preuss' mountaineering. Only then it's easy to enjoy hiking and maybe even enjoy the flow experience.

    Last but not least, the conviviality and the community among the hikers make up the special charm. Going out in nature as well as stopping at the hut. Shared suffering and shared joy at the end of a stage. Having weathered the wind and weather and finally reached the previously set goal together.

    So where is a good place to hike? Here! And the best time? Now!



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