Tag Archives: outdoors

What makes a walk a hike?

About 10 minutes into the trail, I asked “is this a walk or a hike?” It was when a family of 3 with a very small child turned back and said to us “we were just out for a nice morning walk, not a hike!” My friend and I agreed there were certain elements that made it a hike and not a walk. Any one of these would elevate your exercise to a hike:

  • when the trail turns into enough mud that your shoes are in danger of being sucked off
  • when you have to pause to eat an energy bar (lattes at Starbucks do not count)
  • when that walking stick that you were just using as a balancing tool is needed to push bushes out of the way
  • when you require water and tools to clean your shoes/walking stick
  • bug spray becomes a necessity not optional

The following do not count in declaring that you’ve been on a hike

  • you sweat (you do this when you leave your house and are still on the driveway in Florida)
  • you go uphill (unless it is more than a 40 degree grade and/or requires climbing equipment – then it’s a climb, not a hike)
  • your feet hurt (check your shoes)
  • you get a blister (check your socks)

The following are signs that you are definitely on a walk, not a hike:

  • you can talk the entire way without losing your breath
  • you are wearing cute sandals
  • you don’t break a sweat
  • you have no provisions

Insights from walking hiking in Short Hills Provincial park

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30 Days of Beauty – day 15

Moving as one with my horse. When I ask for something and he understands right away, it’s like the perfect partnership. Just pure harmony.

30 Days of Beauty: An exercise in writing and recognizing the things that make my soul giggle and sing.


Hawaii: Volcanoes

OMG! I totally forgot to finish this post! And seeing Kilauea is really worth a blog! Ok, the science stuff first: Kilauea is one of 5 and half volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii. There is a great explanation of them here. In fact, the USGS is the best source of info on Kilauea and gives updates on eruptions and seismic activities here. Kilauea is by far the most active volcano and gives the best showing. In case you are wondering, the “half” volcano is the new baby one just offshore to the south of the Big Island – stick around a few hundred years for its birth!

Now the tourist stuff: check before you go to see what’s open and what isn’t. They sometimes close down driving and hiking paths depending on what the volcano gods are doing. Or, on a plus side, they will also tell you when lava is flowing and you may get lucky and see the night lava flowing into the ocean. Driving up to the visitor’s centre is a lay-by where you can pull over and stick your face in some steam vents (travel tip #76: some facials are free). And in this harsh environment, don’t forget to stop and appreciate the flowers that have fought to survive here.

Steam Vents at Layby

Wild Ochids

However, the visitor’s centre viewing platform is almost always open, but is not always manned. However, if the lava is flowing, not to worry, the busloads of tourists will keep you company. The visitor’s centre itself is great. Really good displays and explanations although the gift shop closes early and was  a little heavy on the books. The really neat part of the centre were the seismographs. If you watched closely, you could see when there was seismic activity and then run out and see the lava lake glow. When I was there, there was loads of seismic activity, but no spewing lava – just a fiery red glow that was mesmerizing to watch. Last tip: it gets cold – bring long trousers or track pants and a sweater.

The cauldren at Kilauea   Lava at Kilauea

Getting close to the hot stuff!