Hikers are a motley group. At one end of the spectrum are the amblers, those who plod along the trail, distracted by everything that surrounds them. At the other extreme are the trail athletes, those who race along their route, focused on their goal, whether it be a summit or the end of a loop.
Naturalists tend to fall close to the amblers. More than a form of exercise, we hike as a way to connect with the environment, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells along the path. Trail athletes might argue that we are missing out on the aerobic benefits of hiking but I suggest that they are missing far more.
Our hiking style likely reflects our approach to life. Some race through it, always looking toward a future that they assume will make their journey worthwhile. Others choose to enjoy the trip itself, stopping to savor its many rewards.