There are 3 specific qualities I will rate. They are views, difficulty, and technicality. My rating system of 1 to 5 is not an evenly distributed rating system. Graphically it can be represented by the following graphics. The point of this scale is to differentiate the top end of the spectrum. The reasoning for this is that the lower end doesn’t matter as much because if the quality of a hike is worse than mediocre, why do it? This is especially true given the ability to explore new places. Of course these are my opinions and are subjective, like all our observations.
Views is the general aesthetics of the hike, trek, or place. I won’t break it down to specific rating for the component of the hike, but I will describe it to the best of my abilities.
- 5 – A must see and high priority. Would be on my top X places to go list if I wrote an article for buzzfeed. I would go back to these places in an instant. In the explore or exploit discussion, these places I would go over exploring new places.
- 4 – Very good views and worth the travel and effort. I would revisit these places given the opportunity.
- 3 – Good views and worth the effort. I would not travel for the sole purpose of revisiting these places.
- 2 – Mediocre views and some positives. I would not naturally revisit unless additional motivation was provided such as a friend’s desire to go.
- 1 – Below average to bad. Not worth my time and effort.
The difficulty measure is to capture two specific things, the general personal fitness needed and the environmental elements that needs to be overcome to accomplish the hike or trek.
For reference, I have decently in shape, but not trail runner or marathon runner by any means. I love food and booze too much, also have no patience for running. My range for hiking happily is around 12-16 miles depending on the elevation change, while my max is probably around 25. As for full pack backpacking, my happy range is probably around 8-14 miles with max around 20. I haven’t really tested my true max.
I can also withstand typical things Zeus throws. I am no trained survivalist or military.
- 5 – This is where I am dying. I probably won’t do this again because I am in the ground. I must have gotten the equivalent of an orgasm, aesthetically, to want to do this again.
- 4 – This is difficult. It will requires a lot of endurance and must brave the weather or environmental challenges.
- 3 – This is either difficult in term of endurance needed or harsh weather possible.
- 2 – This is moderate. Moderate fitness is probably needed and the weather might be bad.
- 1 – Anyone can do it. Doesn’t mean they won’t sweat.
There are also two line of thought here in terms of technicality. The first is the specialized skills that may be needed include, but not limited to, mountaineering skills or navigation skill. Other things might include bushwhacking or climbing decently slopped regions. Secondly, doing some of these things might bring out some fun from the adrenaline. Both are positively associated here.
This score is independent of backpacking, wilderness, and trekking knowledge and skills. For my backpacking and trekking reports, the baseline and general assumption of my reports is that you know what to do in the backcountry or are aware that you need to know what to do in the backcountry even if you don’t have the experience. If you don’t, hopefully you’ll have read up on backpacking skills, principles such as leave no trace, and regulations or found others with experience to teach you about what is needed and lead you into the backcountry to help you gain that experience. Organization like Meetup Groups or REI offer classes and trips that are great into getting you that experience and knowledge should you not know anyone to teach you.
- 5 – I probably can’t do it myself. I would like a professional guide. At this point in my life, this would be full on mountaineering. Though I would like to learn.
- 4 – I can do it by myself, though it’s probably a stupid idea. These are the ones that keep me up worrying before a trip. An example of this would be crossing the Grand Desert Glacier area previous to the official opening of the season on the Walker’s Haute Route.
- 3 – I can do it myself and I have pretty good confidence about it. I’ll even have some fun.
- 2 – Some technical skills might be required. Mostly common sense, some navigation skills, and some general physical activity outside of just walking up and down a hill like scrambling.
- 1 – You are just walking after all.