Additionally, I'm still attempting to figure out the boundaries for my body and its injuries. While some things are obviously off the list in my mind, others seem to be more of a gray area, and these are the activities that I can undertake -- as long as I don't attempt too much at once (which isn't always as easy as it sounds).
One of these activities I have begun to call "urban hiking." Now, I know what some people are going to say... isn't that just walking? My response is both yes and no. In the sense that we can call hiking "just walking" as well. If one lives here in Colorado though, hiking is generally reserved for those who attempt the many 14ers (the term for mountain peaks that reach over 14,000 feet in elevation), but I grew up in California and we used to hike regularly and it wasn't nearly as strenuous as the elevation gain here.
Of course, one doesn't have to summit a 14er in order to call him or herself a hiker. That would be ridiculous as there are innumerable lower elevation trails, fire roads, and so on and I would still term these walking activities as hiking.
|I would call this walking the dog if it was a short distance, only through residential neighborhoods, and I wasn't carrying a load on my back.|
* I (and sometimes the dog too) carry a backpack that contains hydration, snacks for the dog and sometimes the human too, poop bags, a towel, phone, extra leashes (if you've ever had a leash break while out, you'll understand this one), and any other necessities that we may require for our travels
* The distance must be greater than a usual just-walking-the-dog walk, which for me is currently falling between 5-7+ miles
* The hike transitions through at least three different types of areas (residential, commercial/retail, industrial, greenspace/trails, etc) and has me (or us) walking on at least two different kinds of surfaces (pavement, cement, dirt, rocks, gravel, grass, etc)
* There is at least one strenuous portion of the hike (such as a steep hill)
After hiking (For real hiking - you know, with forest-y stuff, mountains, critters and such) just recently with a friend and our dogs, I realize that the muscles used are a little different (Okay, very different, as my calves will attest) when it comes to regular hiking and urban hiking, but I also think there are some similarities - enough so that I have decided that urban hiking is an actual "thing."
|Once the water was close by, the pup started pulling as she desperately wanted to swim in it.|
What I also appreciate about urban hiking is that there is nearly always someone nearby if something should happen in regard to injury (unlike hiking in the mountains where it could be more difficult to get a rescue, if needed). I also enjoy that we can easily stop for food or water without too much disruption in our route (assuming that I've remembered my wallet, of course). We also come across others we know or don't and get to have random and interesting conversations since the pace is slower than riding a bike.
While I don't think urban hiking will be replacing regular hiking anytime soon, it's been fun to explore the city by foot instead of on two wheels and although riding a bike provides a different perspective from driving, using two feet can take things down yet another notch, providing time to really absorb my surroundings. It may not always be the most efficient means of getting around, but traveling via this manner has permitted me to appreciate both walking and biking a lot more.
Are you exploring any new-to-you outdoor activities this year or re-acquainting yourself with a past enjoyable activity? I'd love to hear all about it!