Like the outdoors? Most of us from the state of Alabama have a lot to choose from when it comes to hunting, fishing or hiking. Let’s face it, everyone who is interested in the outdoors is linked in some way, shape, or form. With this in mind, we can see why we should all pay attention to the other two. Today let’s focus on hiking.
In my opinion, hiking is an art in which change is an expected constant. Terrain and gear are always changing, so it is best to keep up with the most current information and the latest new gear.
The basics never change, you can only twist and move so many ways. It will forever be the same old game.
If you have never been on a hike, then planning is a must! I have been hiking for over 10 years, so for me, it’s throw the gear on my back and hit the trail. This is the way that I started, but backed off and took a hard look at what I was doing and the way I was executing my game plan. Years ago, I learned the “Six P’s: Prior planning prevents piss poor performance”. Over the past 10 years, these six words have definitely kept my adventures fun and safe. If you have never been active, don’t start with a 25-mile walk. This is a disaster waiting to happen. First and foremost, consult with a physician to examine your physical limitations. After meeting with a doctor, go on a few small walks, adding additional weight in your pack as you feel physically up to it. Design a game plan and set reasonable goals you can accomplish. If you stretch your limits right off the bat, you will probably fall short and lose interest.
Fuel consumption is just as important as hydration. With this in mind, fuel is the key to operating while out on any adventure. I would suggest that 48 hours before you hit the trail, you should load up on your favorite pasta. Years ago when I was in high school, one of my trainers called this carbo-loading. This is good for any activity that uses a lot of energy. On one adventure, I tried an experiment. I set out on a 25-mile hike on an empty stomach, just to see how far I could go. Now, I am used to hiking on low fuel, and would not suggest that anyone should try this, but it is nice to know the limitations on one’s body. I hiked about 10-miles before I had to call it quits.
You should always remember to never feel bad if you don’t complete the entire journey. The more items and weight you add to your adventure, the less distance you will be able to travel.
Slowly acclimate yourself to the additional weight and work up to the distance you are trying to achieve. This way it won’t feel as if you have failed, and you will be excited to try and reach a further distance the next trip.
Now let’s talk about gear. You need to be practical. You don’t always need to have the most fancy or most expensive equipment. Always research and compare the different products available.
This way you will have the best gear suited for your adventure. There are many companies that manufacture extremely well made accoutrements for the weekend camper, or the extreme mountain climber. Always consider your comfort level. If your gear doesn’t fit, or is the wrong size for the particular adventure you are on, you will be miserable. There are a couple of outdoor shops around town, and if you are a beginner they will probably give you the best advantage of being properly prepared. Of course, after you have a few trips under your belt you may want to shop the Internet, as there is a vast network of specialty sites from all around the globe.
Now let’s talk about emergency preparedness. Whether you are traversing a mountain or just crossing town, you may encounter numerous challenges. Consider what these might be, and learn how to overcome the problems facing you. A first aid kit is an absolute key item that you should have with you at all times. There are many different kinds of pre-assembled kits, but if you are a fan of using alternative forms of medications, just make up your own kit using your choice of herbal remedies.
Last but not least, I want to leave you with what may be the number one most important piece of information I can ever give you: always take care of your feet! When your feet go, you will be in big trouble. Always take extra socks and liners and change them regularly. If you stop for extended periods of time, rub your feet. You will feel better and this also promotes circulation, which is the key to healthy hoofs. When purchasing socks for your short walks or long adventures, be sure to choose the right socks for the trip. Synthetic socks and liners are great for any adventure. Cotton socks should never be used, as they absorb liquid and keep it in constant contact with your feet.
With the proper information, any adventure can be rewarding and enjoyed by people of all ages. Happy hiking!