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If you were to go out on a hike/walk for pleasure, what's long to you?


creekland
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I'm just curious what other people would see as a "long" hike/walk - purely for pleasure.

 

If we can, we think nothing of going 9-10 miles, but I guess I'd consider those long since we don't get to do that length often.

 

4-5+ miles is pretty common for us, but usually when on vacation due to time again.

 

1-2 is definitely in our short range even for everyday.

 

I've been made aware that our definitions aren't the norm for many people (they are in our outdoor/hiking circle though).

 

What would you think of for long?  (This, of course, assumes no health issues making walking an issue.)

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Pre-kids?

1-2 was short. I mean, why drive 45 minutes to a nice new place for a walk that short?

4-5 was standard

Over 8-9 was long. 

That is without a major elevation change. Hills, yes, steep, no.

 

With a 5 year old, 1-2 is standard, and I think a 4 mile walk would involve lots of whining and perhaps some carrying.

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Part of this depends on conditions like elevation. Are you walking on an urban sidewalk or hiking on a meandering path that goes up and down? 

 

Even my regular beach walk can vary with the tide.  There is a huge difference between firm and soft sand.

 

I would say that a couple miles is the norm for every day and walking five plus miles on a weekend or on vacation is also normal. 

 

Your question gives me an excuse to post a recent photo of a ridge hike that I did last week while visiting uninhabited barrier islands in the Sea of Cortes.

 

23028590522_79e7bc51fb.jpg

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To us, anything up to 3 miles is short and considered a walk, not a hike ;) That's what we do after dinner.

Our average hikes are 6-8 miles (partly because there are few options for longer trails in our area)

Long is 10+ miles. We don't get to do that too often. The 13 mile high elevation hike we did this summer was definitely long.

 

A "long" hike can have fewer miles if it is in challenging terrain, with lots of elevation gain and possibly class 4 scrambling - then the "long" refers to the fact that it takes a long time, not mileage.

 

ETA: with kids, everything changes, of course. A 2 mile hike can take half a day with toddlers, and 5 miles were long for young elementary age kids. I remember the first time we were able to do one of our favorite 7 mile hikes without taking the shortcut that shortened it to 5; that was a big deal for the kids.

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I think 5 miles would be the "kinda long" threshold for me.  Though it is rare that we get to go on a hike that long, unless we are on vacation.  I enjoy hiking longer than that, but I'd call it "long" because of how much time it takes away from everything else.  And not having bathroom facilities etc.  :)

 

For my kids, they might think it gets long after 2 or 3 miles, but that's again because we don't do that often.  Not because they don't have the stamina for it.  :)

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well, 5 miles seems long, but not too long. That would be like 'let's go for a nice long walk', so long, but not challenging. It's something I could just pick up and do without having to think about it.

 

10 miles feels like a real commitment, lol. That doesn't seem like something I would do casually, but I would do it to see something nice, or to go up a particular mountain, etc.

 

Something like a mile or two doesn't feel like much. I walk a mile to get milk on a regular basis. We walk a mile to get to church. My older kid walks about 1.5 miles to school in the morning. He has a ride home b/c of after school commitments. But, if he didn't have those he would walk home.

 

If it's snowing, icy, raining beyond a wet drizzle or I have a big load of library books....I will drive the 1.5 miles to the library or other in town errands.  I am so lame. But winters here are hard and I get tired out by them. And I have fallen a few to many times, lol.

 

And it does depend on elevation.  My town is partly very flat and then...it goes right uphill!  There are a couple whoppers that I secretly don't even like to drive on.  So, if someone says to meet them at a particular restaurant or coffee house, well, I'm driving b/c I don't want to arrive a sweaty panting mess. And absolutely not hiking up a hill in the snow! I'm not the only one, our city buses have bicycle racks b/c people will take a bus up the huge hill and then continue riding to work from the top.  DH does it regularly.

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What everyone else said.

 

My normal walk-the-dog "walk" is 1.2 miles.

 

 

When the kids were little, I tried to organize our "hikes" alongside lakes or rivers, so they could stop and toss in stones or look at frogs or whatever, whenever.  I wasn't going for mileage, or "reaching" the "summit" (not so interesting to a little kid, especially in New England when all you can usually see is trees even at the top).  My goal was to get them to enjoy "hiking."  Really it was a lot more like "walking" except I made a big deal about carrying enough water and watching the trail blazes and teaching them about maps.  If we covered 3-4 miles on easy terrain I counted that a success.

 

And now they're big, and elevation / terrain / weather makes all the difference...

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Like Regentrude, I'd say up to 3 miles is short.  But it also depends.  A 3-mile walk around my neighborhood might seem long because it's familiar and can become rather tedious.  A 3-mile walk in a park seems much shorter.  Up to about 8 I'd call medium, and over 8 would be long to me.

 

Weather also makes a difference.  I live in a pretty humid area (compared to where I lived before; people in LA and GA might find Philly not humid at all). 3 miles can seem very long on a hot humid day. 

 

OK and company can make a difference too. I know I'm straying off topic.  But let's face it, a short walk with the wrong people can seem mighty long...

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Agreeing with those who say it depends on the conditions.

 

The loop around our neighborhood I do with the dog (a little guy) is about 1.5 miles.  That's just the normal dog walk, and I do it anywhere from once to three times a day.

 

If I'm out walking for fitness I often go to a local track.  I have a couple to choose from.  One is a regulation track around a football field, made of that kind of squishy, forgiving material that most newer tracks are made of.  It's boring, but I can easily do five miles on it w/o a second thought.  The other track is pea gravel, and it's kind of loose.  So footing is trickier, and I definitely "feel" it.  Two or three miles there and I'm ready to quit.

 

Beach -- depends on where the tide is.  If it's out far enough that I can walk on packed sand then I'm good for five miles or more.

 

Hiking always makes me think of mountains and lots of elevation changes.  We did some mountain hiking in July, several days in a row.  I think our longest one was six or seven miles round trip.  I felt it a bit in my ankles the next day, but that was all.

 

And of course heat and (especially) humidity are a big thing.  I can't take 'em and might be dragging after a mile, whereas on a cool fall day I feel like I could walk forever.

 

But time is definitely the biggest hindrance to achieving distance.  And I guess it's a good thing that it's the biggest problem. ;)

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Speaking of company, usually when I'm doing a vactiony hike, it's with some friends who are older and have limits on their mobility.  Recently a <2-mile hike took about 2 hours.  Although short by my personal standard, it still felt kinda long because it took up that much time.  Time spent "away from it all" is a relevant measure IMO.  :)

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Long for me depends on my current fitness level. Also, I define it as long when I need to carry supplies (water, snack, energy gels, whatever). So 4-5 mi on the paved walking path? No. 4-5 mi in the forest where it's really technical and will take a few hours? Sure, that's long. Not so much distance but time on my feet.

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I couldn't think of going for a walk for enjoyment purposes. 

 

But we do walk a lot. If going for a walk with someone I like them to tell me an estimate of the distance. Take for tonight for example. We are going to walk 2KM to the running store. Youngest and I will then run 3 to 4KM then walk 2KM home. Eldest and Dh* will run 9 to 11KM, then walk or run the 2KM home. 

 

*Actually Dh is going to bike it all. He can't run far or fast enough to keep up with the run group Eldest is in. But doesn't like him going without anyone since it is dark and he just started this group so doesn't know anyone and the routes may be new. 

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I don't usually think in miles, but more like time, as walking mountains takes longer for the same distance than walking riverbanks.

 

A long walk is more than 4 hours (so I need to bring more than a snack), which would be about 10 miles on the flat, or somewhat less in the hills, maybe 8 miles?

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Glad I'm not the only one who can't fathom a typical 1-2 mile walk in the woods (not much elevation change) or around a track being considered long.  (No small kids involved, etc.)

 

I like the idea of using time as a good indicator rather than distance.  1-2 miles is just 20-40 minutes at an average walking pace.

 

Even 4-6 miles only takes 2 hours or less - not at all "bad" or "abnormal" for recreation in my mind, though yes, elevation or cold/heat could make a difference in enjoyment.

 

 

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Glad I'm not the only one who can't fathom a typical 1-2 mile walk in the woods (not much elevation change) or around a track being considered long.  (No small kids involved, etc.)

 

I like the idea of using time as a good indicator rather than distance.  1-2 miles is just 20-40 minutes at an average walking pace.

 

Even 4-6 miles only takes 2 hours or less - not at all "bad" or "abnormal" for recreation in my mind, though yes, elevation or cold/heat could make a difference in enjoyment.

 

If you are doing 6 miles in 2 hours..... I don't want to walk with you!!  I mean, I do that on the treadmill easily. But in the woods?  6 miles is a solid 4 hours, including a snack break.  I guess I am a rambler.  Or, I am more hobbit not Aragorn, LOL.

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Physically, I can walk all day with breaks for meals, rests, bathroom etc . . . I don't know that I even think about it in terms of miles unless a trail is marked.  I find walking all day to be less tiring than a morning of intensive dance workshops.  I don't feel the hiking as much the next day.  Realistically I don't often have time to walk more than a mile so around our neighborhood.  I know I walk slower now than I did in the military when 10-12 miles with a rucksack took a few hours.  I also know that if I speed walk too long I will feel that in my hips the next day. (I learned that the hard way trying to keep up with my son in his power wheelchair.)  Speed walkers must use all different muscles than I ever access in the course of my normal life.  

 

 

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Glad I'm not the only one who can't fathom a typical 1-2 mile walk in the woods (not much elevation change) or around a track being considered long.  (No small kids involved, etc.)

 

 

I drove to the garage at lunch time today to get my winter tyres put on, then walked 1.2 miles back to work, which took 18 minutes (so walking at 4 miles an hour).  After work, I walked back to the garage, also briskly because the garage was about to close.  That's just life - I'm lucky enough to be healthy, so walking is a normal part of the day.  I realise that I am lucky that there are pavements (sidewalks) throughout the town.

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To me, long would be more than 8 miles on terrain that has more than gradual elevation change.

 

Or 5 miles on terrain that gains 1400+ feet per mile; it just takes FOREVER because it's so steep, both uphill and downhill. 

 

Or 8 miles on the flat with little kids, and you know you still have to drive 2 hours afterwards to get home.

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Long is 10 miles plus.

 

If I'm going on a walk or hike or run by myself, I don't like to go unless it's at least 5 miles. Five miles is fun and easy. But if I'm going for the purpose of spending time with someone else, who doesn't like to go very far, I will go shorter.

 

I just like to be outside, even in bad weather, so if I'm gonna get my stuff on to go out, I want to be out there for awhile.

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If you are doing 6 miles in 2 hours..... I don't want to walk with you!!  I mean, I do that on the treadmill easily. But in the woods?  6 miles is a solid 4 hours, including a snack break.  I guess I am a rambler.  Or, I am more hobbit not Aragorn, LOL.

 

That's just 3 miles per hour.  When we're geocaching or hiking with more terrain then we average 2mph, but this walk was flat (beach with hard/wet sand).  No muscle soreness whatsoever.  I can't actually recall the last time I had sore muscles just from walking.  Hiking terrain can do it, but not walking.

 

Long is 10 miles plus.

 

If I'm going on a walk or hike or run by myself, I don't like to go unless it's at least 5 miles. Five miles is fun and easy. But if I'm going for the purpose of spending time with someone else, who doesn't like to go very far, I will go shorter.

 

I just like to be outside, even in bad weather, so if I'm gonna get my stuff on to go out, I want to be out there for awhile.

 

We'd have gone further, but my mom was waiting for us in the hotel room, so a couple of hours was all we could really get away with and still be polite.  Hubby and I both love being outdoors too - esp on a beach.

 

Most people in my close circle of friends don't consider 6 miles (3 miles each way) to have been anything special - nor do we as it's not as long as we would go by ourselves.  It really surprised me/us to hear other people remark about it in odd ways.

 

Twelve miles with a bit of elevation change over and over again on a trail we did in HI?  That was "worthy" of remarking over and it gave us a little bit of soreness that evening (none the next day).  Six miles of flat?  Oodles of walkers were out there with us TBH.  I suspect many went further as we could have gone another mile (both ways) to make a complete beach walk.

 

I guess it's just a matter of what circle one aligns with.

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I drove to the garage at lunch time today to get my winter tyres put on, then walked 1.2 miles back to work, which took 18 minutes (so walking at 4 miles an hour).  After work, I walked back to the garage, also briskly because the garage was about to close.  That's just life - I'm lucky enough to be healthy, so walking is a normal part of the day.  I realise that I am lucky that there are pavements (sidewalks) throughout the town.

 

When I'm on a treadmill, I jog  at 4.2 mph. No way could I sustain a 4 mph walking pace.  I have bad knees, but I really think my limitation is my short legs.  When I walk with people with long legs I feel like a tiny yappy dog trying to keep up. 

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For me a long walk is linked to the time I'm walking and not the distance.  If it's more than 90 minutes, it's a long walk. Same with a bike ride- more than 90 minutes is a long ride to me. Now, I can and do ride all day sometimes, but I just kind of feel that spending more than an hour and a half is a lot of time for one activity. So that's what I've based it on.   All you folks who say 10 miles is where you start counting it a long walk...kudos to you!   I can walk anywhere in town in under 10 miles but I don't because that's a long walk.   

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To me "hike" is as much about the difficulty of the terrain as anything. I mean, a 5 mile walk on flat ground that's paved (even if it's wooded) feels like a long walk, not a hike to me. A hike needs to have some up and down or something. Like, I once went on a several mile canal "hike." That's not a hike! Canal towpaths are pretty, but they're not really rugged or challenging in any way.

 

It's relative. We do a lot of 1 or 2 miles walks and hikes in the woods. Anything much longer than 3 or 4 miles feels on the long side to me, but I would definitely consider the source. If someone I know who is a much more serious hiker says something is "long" then I'd assume it was way longer than 3 or 4 miles. At least 7 or 8.

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When I'm on a treadmill, I jog  at 4.2 mph. No way could I sustain a 4 mph walking pace.  I have bad knees, but I really think my limitation is my short legs.  When I walk with people with long legs I feel like a tiny yappy dog trying to keep up. 

 

I hear you!  I'm super short.  I can maintain 3.75 mph for quite a long time on flat(ish) ground.  But 4 mph is almost a jog for me.

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I agree with horsellian, I think it depends on time. I walk with my kids and they do just fine in the neighborhood walking up to 3 miles. On a normal day our loop is 2-3 miles and takes 40 minutes or less depending on how much time the youngest spends in the stroller.

 

When we hike 2-3 miles is a decent hike, 4 miles is getting long. I think they could go further especially since the three year old still rides in the pack most of the time. However I want them to love hiking like I do so I don't push them too hard. A 4 mile hike takes over 2 hours by the time we pick up sticks, throw some rocks, walk across downed logs, etc.

 

I recently went hiking with friends, not carrying even a backpack and was surprised 4 miles felt short, it took just over an hour definitely less than 90 minutes.

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3 miles is to the store and back. Including time to shop and check out, that's about an hour. It isn't totally flat, but not totally level. It's mostly concrete. And involves carrying bags home.

 

A walk for pleasure would depend on where, who, weather, and all.

 

As a note on interest, walking on a treadmill is different biomechanically. It involves continually falling forward and catching yourself.

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Just wanted to add this to the discussion: if I'm walking in a shopping mall, 5 minutes is long and makes me tired. ;)

 

Whoa!  You make it to the store/mall before getting tired?  I never get that far.

 

Plus, I can't walk on treadmills.  I get shin splints.  We have one here in the house mainly to hold our phone chargers and a couple of magazines.  On occasion in the winter I double check the shin splint thing - just in case anything changed.  It hasn't to date, but I never tried it last winter.  Migrating south for part of the winter gave me better places to walk without having to worry about splints.

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Pre-kids, a ten mike hike would have been long (but fun!), and a five mile hike was our average. Post-kids, we've been steadily increasing their endurance. We are up to three to four miles on average, the shorter end of that range if we are gaining a lot of elevation (we usually hike in the mountains). We could probably convince them to do five miles by now (we still carry the toddler), but definitely not more than that.

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In town, I think of anything over a mile as a "long walk". I also don't really understand the concept of walking for pleasure.

 

On the rare occasions I drive out to the woods to hike, a "long hike" would be whatever took 3+ hours. Distance depends on terrain and whether the 5 year old is along for the trip.

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I wear a Fitbit and hit the 10,000 step mark long before I have traveled 8 miles- that's like a 4+ foot stride! You people have long legs and I am super envious.  

 

What I mean is that anything 10,000 steps and over is a long walk, according to my iPhone. I don't know how accurate it is.

 

I walk briskly so my stride length is perhaps long. I've got average length legs, though.

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For me, I'd consider a 6-7 mile walk a long walk.  Not too long.  But time-wise, it would take about two hours if one's not hurrying....and that's not something I can afford on most days.

 

(re: steps I always thought that the 10,000 steps was supposed to equal 5 miles.)

 

 

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I hear you!  I'm super short.  I can maintain 3.75 mph for quite a long time on flat(ish) ground.  But 4 mph is almost a jog for me.

 

I'm 5'4" but I have a 31" inside leg.  Calvin is 5'1" and has a 34" inside leg.  So I have long legs for my height, but even so at 4mph I'm sweating and breathing fast.  Not a bad thing.

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For a walk I guess 5 miles.

 

For a hike, a long hike is about 10+ miles.

 

We don't hike so much these days as we're working a lot. But that's my standard.

 

5 miles with small children (<8) takes about two hours. It's the whining I hate.

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5 miles with small children (<8) takes about two hours. It's the whining I hate.

 

When reading through these threads, I find myself really thankful that all three of my boys inherited our love of traveling and the great outdoors in general.  

 

I honestly don't recall a single time that mine whined on a hike or in the car on long road trips.

 

OK, mine might have whined that we cut something short or didn't take a side trip... but otherwise, doing these things is a nice dopamine surge for all of us.

 

It's amazing how different our (human) genetic mindsets are.  Walking is definitely a pleasure for all of us - esp if there's decent scenery - but even if we're in a town and just heading to a store.  Walking our tried and true routes around our farm is always a relaxing break as long as the weather is decent.

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