When a wilderness walk involves a distance of at least a few miles, and is carried out in a reasonably purposeful way, it’s usually called a hike. Most but not all hiking is done on hiking trails, which are often marked and sometimes easy to follow. A hike can range from an untaxing afternoon stroll along a gently winding trail to a steep and strenuous trail-climb in mountainous terrain.
Avid hikers will often camp in an area where there are lots of trails, meaning many possible choices for day hikes. Off-trail hiking, Oklahoma City Map or bushwhacking, is another possibility. This is easy to do in open areas, but quite difficult in rugged terrain or dense vegetation. It’s also riskier, since there’s a greater chance of getting lost, but more solitude is available. See The Essential Guide to Hiking in the United States for much more about hiking.
Backpacking refers to walking or hiking into the wilderness with a full-size backpack, carrying everything that’s needed for an overnight stay. A backpacking trip can involve hiking a long-distance trail (or series of trails) and setting up camp in a different site each night. Or it can mean staying at a single campsite for the duration of the trip, which could be for one night or many.
Since all clothing, equipment, and food for the trip must be carried on your back, there’s a strong incentive to minimize your load. This means bringing the lightest and most compact food and gear available, limiting yourself to what’s truly necessary. Backpacking is also discussed in Chapter 1.
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