The terms seem to be used interchangeably on many websites and journey books. It turns into even more complicated when some firms sell their boots as ‘trekking boots’ after which proceed to state that they can be utilized on long hikes. And when is a stroll a trek and when is it a hike? It becomes even more complicated when the word trekking is used to consult with the ascent of a mountain, like Island Peak or Mera Peak in Nepal, each over 6000m and both requiring using technical climbing gear. How can they be called ‘trekking peaks?’
The term ‘hiking’ is commonly used to consult with day walks in natural surroundings, on clearly marked paths. It’s undertaken for leisure, recreation and the purpose of exercise. A small day pack is used to hold water, light weight fleece and snacks. In places akin to Canada and New Zealand, the time period is usually used interchangeably with rambling, hill strolling or tramping.
‘Trekking’, by contrast is considered to be more strenuous, covers greater distances across varying terrains, and requires camping over evening and carrying heavy packs with meals, sleeping bags and gear. The time period is actually derived from the Afrikaans work, trek, which comes from the Dutch word, trecken, referring to a lengthy and arduous journey over huge distances and sometimes, unchartered ground. It’s often related to the migration of individuals across land from one space to another.
Does this imply then that if a day hike is difficult, over tough ground and through thick forest with no paths, that it is a trek? In Australia, they might call this bushwhacking, and in different places they call it stamping. Once you go to the Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda or Uganda, it is a one day hike, but via dense forest, over very uneven and troublesome terrain. No wonder there may be so much confusion.
But allow us to not end the confusion there. Anyone who has tried to take out travel insurance to cover their ‘trekking’ or ‘hiking’ trip, can have discovered that these activities are sometimes listed as ‘hazardous pursuits’. In fact, some insurance firms even lump phrases like hiking and mountaineering together as by means of they can be used interchangeably or are synonymous The there are other firms who classify any hikes over an altitude of 2000m as mountaineering. Sorry Scotland, but it surely means that your well-known peak, Ben Nevis (1352m), will not be a mountain after all however simply a trekking peak?
Perhaps one of the best way to take a look at it is that a trek is usually completed over a number of days made up of hiking, hill strolling, tramping and bushwhacking.
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