Prepare for a fun summer of hiking with these easy tips
Any time you are going to do some sort of physical activity, it makes sense to prepare yourself, and for hiking, it is key. Example - a young woman I am personal training is heading off this summer for a NOLS trip to hike throughout Australia, but she was really deconditioned, so we needed to build up her strength and stamina. Now you may just want to go up to Cardigan Mountain on a Saturday, but you still need to be prepared.
I recently read a good article on trails.com that went through a lot of the steps you need to take to get ready for hiking season. One thing that I did disagree with is that the best way to get in shape for hiking is hiking - that’s well and good but in winter and in mud season we don't have much choice but to hit the gym! I do get the thought and for an extended hike, the best way to prepare IS to take some shorter hikes and build up your strength. But if you are trying to get back in shape for hiking, it makes sense to do a little bit of strength training and cardio if you haven't been active, or at least build yourself up by starting with really short hikes. And please stretch! No better way to prevent sore muscles and injuries!
If you hike alone, make sure someone knows where you are and when you'll be back
Here is a list, edited by me, of tips for getting back out on the trail:
- Get in shape before you head out on the trail.
- Anticipate the rigors or hiking at high altitude by starting out easy.
- Bring enough food and water to last an entire day.
- Observe all Forest Service rules for the wilderness.
- If possible, never hike alone - but if you do, like me, enjoy the Zen peacefulness of the forest alone, make sure you tell someone where you are and when you expect to be back
- Never use new clothing or shoes that you have never used.
- Never drink from streams or lakes without first filtering the water.(OMG my friend Jeffrey did this in Peru in the Andes when we were hiking and it was awful - thank God we brought some Cipro along!)
- “Leave No Trace” - Never leave trash, paper or other human refuse behind in the wilderness.
The article also had a good list of things you should have when you head out. I have added a bit myself based on experience! One thing I can say is that I always treat a short hike like a long hike, because you never know. Plus I like to be prepared for anything and then have nothing happen!
Things You’ll Need:
- Sturdy hiking shoes
- REALLY GOOD SOCKS - do not skimp here
- Lightweight clothing - layers are a good thing in the Upper Valley - I also always bring a rain jacket that folds up into nothing just in case
- Durable backpack or fanny pack
- Containers with water
- Assorted Snacks
- Cell phone
- Sun protection
- First aid kit
- Basic survival equipment - matches, whistle, compass, trail map
So now you are all set and ready to hike! Make sure you subscribe to my blog as I am going to be putting out some good hike ideas as well as some special hiking events that are coming up in the next few months.