MOST veteran hikers knew their favorite mode of motion would come back into vogue. Slowly, according to the latest in press reports on changing trends, the jogging craze of the '60s and '70s has been giving way to a rediscovery of the joys of walking. The signs: Circulation of Walking magazine is up by one-third in recent months, a store called the Urban Hiker opens in New York, and walking-shoe sales are ambling to a new high. Manufacturers say purchases of flats and low heels doubled - to 84 million pairs - between 1983 and '85.

True, there are still those around who think walking is what one does only in weather emergencies or when the car gives out or all available parking space is full. But those of us who kept right on walking while jogging, and all its accompanying gear passed us by, have known that, like the tortoise and the hare, it is one sure way, without huffing and puffing, to get where you want to go. Moreover, you have the time to relax and smell the flowers, literally, or examine the snowflakes, along the way.

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