Courtesy of Wendy Dessler
When it comes to hiking, after you’ve gone up and down a mountain you shouldn’t need physical therapy. But if you don’t get the right gear, this may be exactly the position you find yourself in after you’ve scaled that “fourteen-er”, as a hiking enthusiast may call a 14,000-foot peak.
Many don’t realize this, but hiking actually represents some of the best possible exercise you can involve yourself with. Hiking engages multiple muscle groups in the body, and it requires concerted effort. Additionally, it is constantly silhouetted in gorgeous vistas and novel experiences, making the physical drain less affecting.
But it will be an affecting drain if you don’t prepare. Firstly, you want to be regularly exercising as well as regularly consuming healthy foods. There really isn’t any shortcut here. Don’t go on some crazy diet. Just eat right and stay physically active. Natural foods will do you good. Anything without preservatives or other artificial chemicals is recommendable.
Then, before you start hiking those massive peaks, start on some small trails. Get yourself physically ready as best you can before you tackle Mt. Rainier in the fall, or Pike’s Peak in the Summer.
Acquire The Right Equipment
Once you’ve got your body properly situated, it’s time to acquire gear. You may not realize this, but it’s not just about the right kind of hiking boots—though those are an integral component of a successful hike. No, you want to find the right pants as well; according to HikersOnRun.com, “In tough conditions…normal pants are likely to…tear apart…hiking pants will protect you and keep you safe.”
You additionally want to layer up as you travel the mountain. Start off with an “a” shirt (that is: one with no sleeves) and cover it with either a t-shirt or perhaps a flannel. You’ll want a coat over that. Additionally, when you buy hiking pants, buy them a few sizes too large.
When you’ve got larger pants, you can layer up beneath when things are cold and comfortably roll them up as it gets hot. You can additionally take off all but the a-shirt when you’re going up the mountain. But you want to be able to get warm when the night comes, or should a sudden storm find you.
You’ll want a backpack with plenty of gear. For a hike that’s three miles up and three miles down, you’ll want at least two gallons of water and enough food for several days—who knows what may happen on that mountain. It makes sense to bring cooking gear as well. You may even find natural food items like nuts, roots, or berries—but bring a field guide just to keep yourself from accidentally eating something poisonous.
Enjoy The Ascent!
Finally, you might want to look into a good hiking stick. This can be a tree limb that you dress yourself with a hunting knife, or a staff you purchase from a sporting goods outlet. Either way, you’ll want such a stick for steep gradients and accidental stumbles. It could work like a weapon, too, in a pinch. With proper materials and preparation, you’ll have safer, more enjoyable hikes.