October means outdoors. The autumn season has come to life, with its mild sunny days and mountain trails that are slowly coloured by the warm and soft tones of the leaves. It’s the perfect period in which to admire the first autumn foliage or enjoy the last warmth before the arrival of winter and snowfall.
Time then for walks and excursions, days spent trekking and hiking…but what difference is there between these two disciplines, so similar as to often merge and overlap but at the same time so profoundly different?
Hiking and trekking are not the same thing. In fact they’re two very different activities, albeit with many similarities.
Trekking is an outdoor activity involving long walks that take place over several days. A very famous example of trekking is the Camino de Santiago. The discipline takes its name from the English language, but it’s also true that in Italy trekking is commonly understood as an excursion to the mountains that can even last only a day.
Hiking, from the English “hike” which means a long walk, is in fact a single day’s walk along trails in the mountains or other natural environments.
Whether you’re setting off on a trek of several days or a single day’s hiking, the advice is always to keep to trails that are suited to your level and to always walk at a good, constant pace. If you’re planning to go on a demanding walk it’s a good idea to train gradually beforehand, to arrive there ready and prepared.
Certainly wear a backpack, but don’t forget to take the right equipment: suitable shoes, poles, and comfortable, breathable clothing. Also take a compass and water, and pay close attention to the signs along the path.