The Difference Between Hiking, Walking and a Guided Tours.

Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in a natural environments usually along know trails. For humans, walking is distinguished from running in that one foot is always touching the ground. Running begins when both feet are off the ground with each step. This distinction is a formal requirement in competitive walking events. Strolling is enjoyed world wide as a leisure activity where the walk is at a slightly slower pace in an attempt to absorb the surroundings.

I find it totally amazing that the calories burned for strolling, walking, hiking, or running is the same and only depends on distance traveled. Thus, a mall walking granny covering 10k (6 miles) burns the same energy as an Olympic runner over the same distance and as part of a diet plan, strolling is just as good as jogging when measured by the distance traveled. (To strengthen your lungs and heart, you actually have to move a little faster than strolling but that’s a different topic.)

For walking tours with groups of 10-20 people, I plan on peak speeds of 2.5 miles per hour with an average of 2 miles per hour due to educational stops. Anybody who is physically able to stand, walk or shop for two hours will have no trouble joining me on a walking tour.

The pace of an educational hike depends on the bio-diversity and the history of human occupancy in the area of the hike and the speed averages 2 to 3 miles per hour. The more human occupancy and biodiversity (different plants) there are to talk about, the slower the walk. Educational hikes generally take about 3 hours to 3.5 hours and are a little more physically stressing than a walking tour.

To put my favorite hikes in perspective, strolling “Mall Walkers” have a consistent pace of 2.5 to 3 miles per hour with few shopping stops. Walking the dog for exercise is a little more strenuous at 3 to 3.5 miles per hour. Those who do power walking as a cardiovascular exercise have to sustain 3.5 to 4.5 miles per hour for an hour or more while Olympic walkers have to move at 5 miles per hour to be competitive. Joggers move at 5-6 miles for normal humans and those capable of running 12 miles per hour are sustaining an Olympic marathon pace.

I believe that a guided tours should be scenic, informative, a great experiences and fun. The fact that you may also burn a few vacation calories is coincidental.

About John Boyd

I have been hiking the hills and beaches of St. Croix, Virgin Islands for over 35 years and in retirement, decided to become a Heritage Hiking Guide specializing in the local history, geology, plant life and environmental changes that accompanied all groups of settlers over the last 3000 years. Unfortunately, aging of my body has temporarily limited my aggressive physical activity and I am using my intrinsic curiosity to explore the very obscure history of St. Croix prior to World War I. The oldest recorded History was dominated by the actions of Absolute European Monarchs who claimed ownership of the Island. Of course, all their actions were reported upon by official scribes who were controlled by censorship. Regardless of the outcome, reports were always positive until the king was dead and a new monarch crowned.
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2 Responses to The Difference Between Hiking, Walking and a Guided Tours.

  1. Sue Molle says:

    Hello Mr Boyd
    You say you are a heritage hiking guide – I am going to be in St Croix for a few days in December and would love to join a hike. I could do the 7th 8th or 9th or 11th december. Any chance of joining up with a group?

    • John Boyd says:

      Absolutely, I walk everyday and I always charge group rates so you get the lowest price possible. Season Doesn’t really start in St. Croix until January so I am not sure how large the group will be but that is simply not a problem for me. I have three hikes that I do on a regular basis and all reflect on a different part of our Heritage. The hike to the Nature conservancy in Little Princess is rich in our Danish Heritage and the way the Danes altered our island and created a unique history. This is an easy walk, almost a stroll, of about 2 hours and the cost is $10. I usually do this on Monday morning, but dont mind doing it on any other day if I am available. The hike through Boyd’s Botanica and Judith Hill is very rich in the plant record of all our major groups who occupied St. Croix except for The French. The Biologically active plants of the Indians include every group of medicines and poisons which they used to hunt, fish and make war. The Danish and Indian presence is documented by their food and agricultural crops and Post World War II, the Americans brought their landscaping varieties without regard to any biological functions. The presence of the Pirates and French is devoid of any physical record in either ruins or plants. However, they left their names and the lore lives on for 400 years later and is still being rediscovered. This hike is a little more rigorous with some great scenic views of the East end 20 miles away and on a clear day you will see all of the virgin Islands including the British Virgin Islands 50 miles away. The cost is $20 and takes about 2 1/2 hours. The one final tour I do on a regular basis is the hike to the top of Sugarloaf Hill in the Goat Hill Range. This hike starts at Cramer Park which is as far east as the neo-Indians made a settlement and their slash and Burn agriculture altered the environment for the next 2000 years including the present time. This area is still rich in Indian Plants and there are two Pristine beaches which are not accessible except by hiking. The hike starts at sea level and in the first mile we reach the 700 foot level before returning to sea level on the other side of the island. Then starts an almost 2 mile stretch of isolated pristine beaches where you rarely see a person. The trail continues to point Udall where you have reached the eastern most point of the USA in the Western Hemisphere. From there we complete the circle and return to the starting point at Cramer Park. While their was some farming in the colonial area, the only group to successfully occupy this part of St. Croix were the Indians. Estate Owners in this area were mostly English with surnames of Adjett, Armstrong, Cook and others. This is a grueling walk that I start early in the morning and takes 3 to 4 hours and depending on the desires of the individuals is 4-6 miles long with the reduction in distance eliminating some of the beach walking which can be quite strenuous. The cost for this hike is $50 and you should not plan on anything other than beach or pool time for the rest of the day unless you are in exceptionally good shape. Since season has not yet started, my schedule is still flexible so just choose a destination and a date. Unless you are staying at the palms, you should rent a car on the day of the hike so you can reach the starting point. The walk from the Nature conservancy starts from the Palms Hotel. When you choose a day you would like to walk and a location send me an email at and I will answer any other questions you may Have. Let me be the first to welcome your visit to Paradise.

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