While running today, I passed a hiker that I nearly always see on my morning run, and almost certain in the same location. We're both cordial; waving, smiling, and making quick chat about the weather while trying to inhale enough oxygen to stay relatively functional.
One thing I notice in passing is that we are both, very much winded. We're both within the agency of moving up a mountain and trying to maintain breath and beat. Sweat beads on the brow and soaks through the shirt.
One moves with quick rapid steps, the other is hunched on poles, walking with slow and methodical strides - but our exposed efforts appear mirrored. Our engagement in this process appears to be no better, nor worse, than the others. Exuding the same efforts, but moving forward and, truthfully, we're both exhausted. Of course fitness, diet and lifestyle plays a huge role in how we are moving, but what I'm trying to portray is how you view the differences from one user to the other in time spent on the trail and what each takes away from the experience, individually. When it comes down to it, I see the only difference between the hiker and the runner is speed, while our efforts, focus and passion for mountains appear completely identical.