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What is an Extreme Day Hike?

"Extreme Day Hike" ... sounds like the words don't go together (oxymoron), like "jumbo shrimp," "boxing championship, "airplane food," or "middle-east peace."   "Extreme," which indicates a difficult variation of a physical activity, would appear to be an exaggeration of the simple feat of walking during the day.   While overused today as an adjective, "extreme" does seem to fit some of hikes described on this web site. 

For a person not in shape, an extreme day hike may be a walk around the shopping center. On the other hand, for a trail or marathon runner, these extreme day hikes may be a walk in the park. This site characterizes "The Extreme Day Hike" as one that consumes most of the day in a challenging adventure in a spectacular natural setting.  Most of the "extreme" hikes described here will have an elevation gain of 4000 feet +, 14 miles round trip, and on a trail. 

Shorter day hikes that are not  "extreme" are described on this site, especially if there is an unique aspect such as exotic, entertaining, scenic, or otherwise exciting. Examples are a section of the Great Wall of China, a major city day hike, or my recent favorite: Hiking up a hill to the top of an island to 13,300 feet and looking down at an "ocean" - Lake Titicaca - at 12,500 feet.

Additionally, any hike to over 14,000 feet altitude, a "Forteener," is considered to be an extreme day hike due to two challenging factors:  Lack of oxygen and quick changing weather.  Even after acclimatization, some people do not cope well with the high altitude and become ill.   Secondly, the danger of an unexpected storms bringing heavy rain, snow, or thunderstorms is greater at higher altitudes.

 

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