Anatomy of a “Wike”


When does a walk become a hike?

Generally, a “hike” suggests both longer distances and rougher (or at least unpaved) terrain than a “walk”. But there’s no definitive distinction. (Also, terminology varies in different parts of the world. For example, in New Zealand they go “tramping.”)

Since there’s no clear delineation between walking and hiking, it’s reasonable to suggest that a journey can include some of both, making it a walk/hike or a “wike.”

Technically, all hiking is walking but not all walking is hiking. It's like the relationship between fruit and apples: all apples are fruit but not all fruits are apples. (Yeah, just like that.) Hiking is a specialized form of walking. (Walking is itself a specialized form of something--ambulation?--with other specializations like running or skipping. But I digress.)

This isn't a post about terminology, though. It's about one example of a wike I took on a cool morning last month in Pacifica (California) and some observations along the way.

Note: some pictures were taken from a subsequent wike on the same route; hence the differences in fog cover.
Another note: click on any picture to see a larger version of the image (if your screen resolution can handle it).

The wike started with quite a bit of plain old walking on streets and paved trails. There were some pretty good hills--not very high but some pretty steep--that made it more than just a casual stroll. (Is that another specialization?)


Definitely walking.

There were people walking their dogs, running, or even riding bikes. It's a route I've walked many times before, but on this day instead of turning around at my usual spot (Rockaway--about two miles out), I kept going.

It was still walking, at least for awhile, on a paved path. But this was taking me away from the ocean. Meanwhile, some dirt paths stretched up a hill back towards the sea and I do like a good climb so off I went. The walk was turning into a hike and the wike was on!

Hiking up

Hiking up.

Things got a lot more interesting from here, both in terrain (e.g., some steep trails) and scenery. I won't bore you with all the pictures, but this will give you an idea. Hiking lets you see sights most people never will. There are easier ways to get to Mori Point but this route is worth the effort.

Mori Point. Does this shadow make me look fat?

Mori Point. Does this shadow make me look fat?

I'd also suggest that hiking is youthful: old people stick to the safe paths while younger people go for the challenge and adventure just because it's fun.

Past Mori Point, the going gets easy again on a wide, flat, well-groomed path along the ocean heading for Pacifica Pier.

Path to the pier.

Path to the pier.


This was a good place to turn around, but not before taking a look back to where I started: that's Pedro Point off in the distance.

Pedro Point in the distance from Pacifica Pier.

Pedro Point in the distance from Pacifica Pier.

Then the return trip started, and back at Mori Point the "Bootlegger's Steps" awaited. I didn't count them, but the intertubes suggests there are 186. I think the picture makes them look a little more intimidating than they are but in any case the challenge was irresistible: despite this being a wike, I ran up the steps.

Bootlegger's Steps

Bootlegger's Steps...gotta run these!

Staying closer to the ocean this time meant another climb, but also some great views.

Hiking back...uphill again.

Hiking back...uphill again.

Of course, pictures can't convey a real sense of being there. Video can't, either, but it's a little better.

As mentioned earlier, hiking lets you see sights most people never will, and this was an unexpected example.

Evidence of aliens?

Evidence of aliens?

Hiking of course builds lower body strength and cardiovascular endurance, but it can also throw in some balance work along the way.

narrow ledge trail


Then it was back to paved paths ("walking" instead of "hiking") with a couple little detour trails just for fun.

beach trail

Walking or hiking...or wiking?

Some final stats from my Garmin Forerunner:

Distance: 9.43 miles
Elapsed Time: 3:13:26 (including stops for pics and videos)
Calories: 869 (approximation, of course)
Ascent: 1953 feet

One final note: this was all before breakfast. I don't believe that a reasonably fit person who eats well needs to "fuel up" before moderate or even strenuous activity. (Our old "Advanced Group Class" was 90 minutes on Sunday mornings and featured lots of wapping, weighted ab work, and more. No one ate before that workout because they'd lose it. But no one ever seemed to "run out of gas" before it was over.) Now something really long that doesn't allow eating along the way (like running a marathon) or something requiring maximum effort and performance (like a powerlifting competition) would be different, of course. Anyway, food for thought. (See what I did there?)

Doesn't this all make you want to get out there and take a wike right now?

Be seeing you.


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