OUTDOORS

I really thought this hike was going to be more of a 'hard walk'

What on earth is a hike, really? I realize that you probably think you know. I thought I knew, too.
(Shutterstock / Olena Yakobchuk)

As the first signs of good weather arise after our extended winter (and let's face it, folks, it basically seems like we've gone straight from winter into summer — where were ya this time, spring?!) I've found many of my friends suggesting a hike.

"How about a hike this weekend?" they'll say. Or "This is great hiking weather." Perhaps "Been out hiking yet?"

These are the sorts of statements I'll hear annually, and which often lead me to ponder the following question:

What on earth is a hike, really?

I realize that you probably think you know. I thought I knew, too.

I thought a hike was the kind of thing where you go for a nice walk, you know. The general specifications are that it's pretty hot out, the walk is long and maybe a little bit trickier than your average walk (you'll have to step over a root or two). But you're just kind of gradually walking up a hill or through some trees, and then you come home.

Whereas I'm learning, based on the opinions of some people I know, that a hike cannot technically be called a hike unless you fly several hundred miles to begin it, eat only freeze-dried snacks from a 100-pound backpack that also contains an elementary walkie-talkie which is your only means of communicating with the outside world and from which protrudes an antenna that is at minimum three feet long.

I haven't seen such a division between two sides' perceptions of a situation since my friends and I debated whether Fargo (1996) was a drama or a comedy.

(It was a drama, by the way. Drama can still be funny — was The Sopranos a comedy because it made you laugh a lot? Didn't think so. Please don't write in offering a contrary opinion, or even one that agrees with me. I know comedy. I'm expressing this view within a comedy article.)

All I can hope is that when I suggest a hike, my friends understand that we will be doing this for a maximum of four hours, perhaps breaking a sweat and breathing heavily but never too heavily to keep engaging in whichever pop-cultural debate we were engaged in, and also it starts at the front door of my apartment.

What you see as a hike? Well, that's straight-up mountain climbing, my friend. If you ever want me to do that, please give me six months notice so that I can purchase the requisite equipment, do the requisite amount of cardio training, and then be sure to have something else planned that weekend, unfortunately.

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About the Author

Jeremy Woodcock

Jeremy has been a staff writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, performed stand-up comedy at the Just For Laughs and Winnipeg Comedy Festivals, and co-created/stars in the popular video series The Urbane Explorer/Finding Bessarion. A 3x Canadian Comedy Award–winner and published humour columnist, he also wrote your favourite joke, the one about the fish trying to get a job at a bank.