(There used to be a poll here asking people how far they preferred to hike, but I took it down because it seemed to be causing system difficulties. I’m leaving the text intact because the questions generated interesting feedback).
I’m conflicted on this one, because there are times when it seems like it’s too much trouble to suit up and drive to a trailhead for a hike of less than five miles, but there are tons of great little walks in the 2- to 3-mile range.
For awhile I figured it wasn’t really a hike unless I logged 12 or 14 miles. Then I started writing a column about hikes and being out there all day started feeling like work instead of recreation. And since most of my hikes include the time spent editing down photos and writing my weekly essays, hiking for seven hours and adding a few more to tell about the experience starts seeming like even more of a chore.
So I’m drifting back to preferring hikes in the 5- to 8-mile range, with the occasional butt-kicker thrown in there just to punish my lower extremities (because the good deed of allowing me to walk upright cannot go unpunished).
click on your fave distance and explain yourself in the comments if the urge hits.
Editor’s note: 30 people voted in the last poll .. which was better than 29, but still: humor me, play along and vote already. It’s just one click.)
I used to categorize a hike the same way “more than 10 miles” but a lot of those also require more than a 20 minute drive so it makes for a long day. I’m really enjoying the 5 – 8 range because there are so many options out there and if we do drive, we’re not back after dark. For the 2 mile range, I like Claremont Canyon if I want to get the blood in the legs pumping. The views are worth the incline.
I agree with you, Tom, on all you say! Whenever I feel the urge to cover big ground, I get on my bike and hit the trails or roads and feel totally satisfiied. I couldn’t hike over 5-8 miles anyway, due to my perpetually inflamed chronic ankle injury. . .did a 6 miler this past weekend at Zion National Park and was limping back to the car – await the blog post!
For me, the question isn’t “how far” — it’s “how far to the fish?”
When you coming back up to the do the 13 miler you get by heading in the other direction (from the Ho-Down hike)?
I tend to do smaller hikes through the month, and then one biggie per month. So, 1-4 each week locally (Annadel, etc), and then an all-day style out by Pt. Reyes, Sugarloaf, etc.
Its not a good hike unless you come back itchy and bleeding.
I’m right in there in the 8-13 range, with occasional bursts into the 15+ range. Kinda depends on who’s with me at the time.
(Note to Fedak: you seriously crack me up, man.)
Most of my hikes start out as 7 or 8-milers, but the mileage usually creeps into the double digits (both intentionally and sometimes accidentally) once I’m on the trail.
I don’t know, I voted on the 10-15 mile range but I am conflicted on it. Sometimes I like the hike to be more of a leisurely walk where I can stop and look and take pictures and enjoy the moment. You know, smell the roses and all that.
And then other times I like an all day hike that covers a lot of ground and where I finish up pretty much a cripple. It’s almost like a badge of courage or something when I go into the office on Monday and I am soooo sore I can barely move and then my boss looks at me and says in a matter of fact way, “you’ve been hiking again haven’t you.” And then I can venture a smug yes. 🙂
Yeah, I like that, definitely, that I was able to drag my aging deskbound bag of bones over 20+ miles of trails and maybe 4000+ feet up and down a bunch of hills and come back alive to tell about it. Yeah, that’s hiking.
For me, a 20+ mile hike is a different mindset, more about covering the ground. The shorter hikes are more about enjoying the moment. What can I say? Hey, I like both.
it depends on the views & the location. If it’s Pt Reyes I want a long hike to make it worth the trouble of a 2hr ea way drive. Sometimes it’s just to a waterfall that 4-6 miles. I enjoy both long & short hikes.
Most of my hikes are from 10 to 15 miles, sometimes more, sometimes less if I don’t want to use the whole day. But I like to get some elevation change at some point. I’m not stuck on completing a certain distance, or setting speed records. I like trails that have some character, and enjoy less traveled areas where I’m less likely to run into other people. I usually hike with my wife, but sometimes get the urge to do a solo hike of 15 to 20 miles. I like to admire views and scenery and I’m prone to fool around taking pictures.
sometimes I am enjoying myself on the hike so much I don’t want it to end…my body usually says otherwise by 13 miles right now…
I go slow. 10 miles is enough work salted into a perfectly fine day, up, down or flat.
> Note to Fedak: you seriously crack me up, man.
That was a (very very very obscure) reference to a 2006 Rick Kent trip report on his 45 mile dayhike of the HPS big 4 that included that term:
I like long hikes but 45 miles is right out for me. Yikes. I’m a cripple after about 20. There is no way I could do anything like that!
While I prefer 5 to 10 mile hikes I most often do 2 to 4 miles after work in the Sandia mountains behind my house since there’s no driving required. I’m privileged to live within 1/4 mile of Albuquerque’s eastern foothill open space which abuts Sandia Mountain Wilderness (Cibola Nat’l Forest).
Give me a good 15-20 mile death march. Except at Coe, where 1 mile = 2 normal miles
> There is no way I could do anything like that!
Thats a good 10 miles longer than anything I’ve ever attempted as well.
(And as an aside, the area he covered in that hike is now mostly a barren moonscape due to the Zaca fire)
I like a 6-10 mile hike, depending on the grade involved. I do a little longer hikes at times- if the destination catches my imagination. Do have to say that getting older tends to temper the enthusiasm for death marches!
And Fedak, your 35 miles or so is a good 11 miles longer than my longest hike to date of 24 miles! And then I ended up with tendonitis in my right leg so bad I couldn’t hike for a month or two after that one. I guess that is my limit.