"Thank you, but we're to go for a long walk."
"I am fond of walking."
"It's a very long walk."
"Why's everybody always supposing I'm not a good walker?"
Probably because it's true . . . well at least somewhat. The fact is I'm a very good walker, even on long walks. What I seem to be finding myself doing lately, however, is hiking and that, my friends, is a horse of a different color. Mostly because hiking is much more vertical. I am all for walking through the woods--its very Robert Frost. In fact, I enjoy it rather a lot: scenery, plus exercise, plus time for thought comes out to a very good time.
The problem with hiking then is not its lack of virtues, because as we already discussed in many ways hiking is like walking. No the real problem is that whole breathing thing. I admit it, one of my strange quirks is that I find it difficult to breath when ascending mountains. It's silly I know. Alas, and yet I continue to willingly go on hikes. As the Bishop's wife put it, it's kind of like childbirth. While you're struggling to breath on the way up you wonder why you got yourself into it, but somehow after reaching the top (or maybe not until you're safely back to your vehicle) and that sense of satisfaction kicks in you suddenly can't quite remember how hard it actually was. Until you're doing it again that is.