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What Is Hiking?
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking have been confirmed in studies. The word hiking is understood in all English-speaking countries, but there are differences in usage.
In the United States and United Kingdom, hiking refers to cross-country walking of a longer duration than a simple walk and usually over terrain where hiking boots are required. A day hike refers to a hike that can be completed in a single day, often applied to mountain hikes to a lake or summit, but not requiring an overnight camp, in which case the term backpacking is used. Bushwhacking specifically refers to difficult walking through dense forest, undergrowth, or bushes, where forward progress requires pushing vegetation aside. In extreme cases of bushwhacking where the vegetation is so dense that human passage is impeded, a machete is used to clear a pathway. Australians use the term bushwalking for both on- and off-trail hiking and occasionally tramping for overnight walks. New Zealanders use tramping (particularly for overnight and longer trips), walking or bushwalking. Multi-day hiking in the mountainous regions of India, Nepal, North America, South America, and in the highlands of East Africa is also called trekking.
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