Mountaineering Boots

Wearing the correct mountaineering boots is essential when you go mountain climbing, ice climbing and rock climbing. These tough conditions on rough terrains can cause devastating injuries if you fall or trip while climbing. The mountaineering boots are designed and manufactured to help climbers and they are an important part of the climbing equipment. When purchasing these boots, finding the proper fit and features that are essential to your particular mountain climbing conditions should be the important things on your mind.
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Some of the features that you should look for in these boots are crampon compatibility and tread and sole construction. Mountaineering boots are stiffer and higher than hiking boots. This stiffness helps the crampons to be attached more precisely and assists the climber to climb rougher and steeper slopes. It is important that you bring your crampons with you to the store when you purchase your boots to ensure your crampons are easy to remove and attach.
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You do not want to find out whilst you are well on your climb that your crampons do not function properly! Wearing the socks you usually wear for these activities is another crucical point to make. This ensures proper fit for your feet.
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As with other outdoor boots, ensure that you break in your boots prior to climbing. This will guarantee that you do not develop too many blisters or sore spots on your climb. If you are climbing during the colder months, look for features in the boots that will keep your feet warm.
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You can find single boots that usually has insulation that is integrated into the boots. Another type of boots is the double boots that has a removable lining. This is a great advantage because if your boots do get wet inside, you can remove the liner and dry it separately from the boots.
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This dries the liner faster than if it was integrated into the boots. Again, different boots are for different types of climbs and different weather conditions. Do not be tempted to buy one pair of boots for extreme types of climbs. Some sports and hobbies require specific attire to make it safer. You do not want accidents to happen because of the wrong footwear.
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These boots are also popular footwear for cable-car operators, drivers of snow racers, rescue personnel in ski resorts, etc. They are extremely durable and adaptable to weather which makes them ideal for people who work on rough and harsh terrains.
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Mountaineering boots are specifically designed for climbing and remember that there are different types of boots for different types of climbing. Rock and ice climbing require special boos that cater to the terrain and the climate.
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Keep in mind these factors when you look for a pair of boots to purchase. If you need to buy more than one pair for different climbs, make sure you have separate requirements and look around in the stores. You can also go online and browse the web to look for one before actually going to a store and trying them out.
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This helps narrow down your choices and it makes it a bit easier to choose. Whichever pair of boots you choose pick one that is perfect for you and you will enjoy a safer climb.

Source by Indy M

What to Wear When Hiking

Hiking and being out in nature always has a positive effect on my mood and physical well being. It is interesting to discover that the items of clothing and the color of your clothing also have an effect.
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For instance, wearing vibrant colorful pink sweatshirts can help you to feel full of energy, whereas soft blue ones usually have a more serene effect on one’s mood.

You should always be properly prepared when you go hiking.
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Not only do you have to worry about taking enough refreshments with you, but the clothing you pack when going on a hike and the clothing that you wear are vitally important. Something you may want to take into consideration is that the weather changes throughout the day, so it is advisable to think ahead and to always be prepared.

My advice is to wear clothing that is designed to absorb perspiration.
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Sweatshirts were originally designed to do just this, so it makes sense for you to pack a comfortable sweatshirt when you go off on a hike. Perhaps you should choose one that is bright, to help others to spot you should you get into trouble. The best bright colors are orange, yellow and shocking pink.
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Another option to consider for a hike is to wear a sleeveless sweatshirt so that you do not get too hot. However never forget to pack your warm crewneck sweatshirt or a hooded sweatshirt just in case the weather turns and it becomes cold or even starts to rain.
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Always wear comfortable hiking boots that are non-slip together with thick socks so that you do not get blisters and keep your feet dry and warm. Don’t forget to wear loads of sunscreen and to take a hat or a cap along to keep the sun from burning your skin.



Source by Simon Steph

Hiking Israel: 10 Best Day Hikes on the Israeli National Trail

Hiking in Israel offers a wide array of experiences and adventures, for all ages and experience levels. The Israel National trail, spanning 620 miles from north to south of Israel, encompasses most of Israels most significant and beautiful hiking trails. It is no wonder then, that the best day hikes are found on the trail. Here are the 10 best day hikes for individuals and families looking for hiking Israel. Rating the best day trips on the Israel National Trail is not an easy task. If I had to write about only one trip, Karbolet Mountain would win the prize. Many hikers find this the most beautiful day on the trail, but it is also the most challenging one. The common opinion is that the Negev desert is the most beautiful part of the trail. The Negev is my own personal favorite as well. 75% of Israelis agree with me.

When hiking through the desert you sometimes get the feeling of being alone in front of the earth and god. The Negev night sky is different; it has many more stars than any other area due to low population and low light pollution. The sight is astonishing. Waking up to a cool desert morning feels like nothing else. Everything is blissfully quiet. I will recommend 5 trails in the Negev area, and five north of Arad. In my personal opinion these are all nicer than those in the northern part of Israel, but they are not arranged in order of preference (except for mount Karbolet which I will write about first).

If not stated otherwise, you can approach the start and end of the day hike with private vehicle or taxi. Logistics of getting there and back would usually be driving your car to one end, and pick up by taxi back to your car on the other end. All trails are described walking north to north.

Detailed trail descriptions from both directions along with topographical maps that allow you to navigate are in the Hiking Israel National trail guide (The Red guide).

1. Karbolet Mountain: This is the most beautiful as well as the most challenging day trip. It is 18 km long. It starts at the gate of the Oron plant, and ends in a night camp in Mador Stream, accessible only by 4X4. This hike is for experienced hikers only, and the view is magnificent throughout. You will walk on the edge of a ridge, to your west an abyss, and to your east a 45 degrees slope. Many compare this to walking on the edge of a knife.

There are a few steep climbs and down-hills along the way. You should carry at least 6 liters of water per person and more on hotter days. Walking on the ridge is slow and difficult, but coming down through Afran stream is the harder part. You MUST exit Afran stream before night fall, the trail is dangerous to walk with impaired vision conditions. Plan your time carefully, and make sure you do not enter into darkness hours. Take a flashlight, for any case. If time doesn’t allow getting out through Afran stream, you should avoid it and exit through Mador stream instead.

HIking from Oron through Mador takes about the same time as only the downwards part through Afran, despite the latter being longer. This segment is not recommended for large groups between October and March as they tend to hike slowly. Also it is recommended to keep your groups small and agile. Hiking in a desert area on your own is dangerous, small mishaps can turn into big ordeals under desert conditions. Travel safely, and enjoy.

2. Nadiv Gardens to Caesarea: This is a 10 km long hike. It is easy and suited for families. You won’t need more than 3 L of water per person and there are sufficient refill spots. You can add “Taninim river” (Alligator River) to your trail to extend it to 13 km. This is one of the most diverse day hikes on the Israel National trail and has a lot to offer: Nature and beautiful flower blossom in springtime, wonderful scenery, archeological sites and an amazing sea shore. It starts in the beautiful Ha-Nadiv gradens, especially beautiful during spring time. The “Carmel Edge” (Hotem Ha’Carmel) offers breathtaking views, and walking down is steep but short and quick. Be careful if recent rainfalls have left the ground slippery. In rare occasions Taninim river is flooded, you should bypass it through the old Benyamina quarry, and go back north. You walk along Taninim river and then cross route 4 via an underpass. You will see the 10th Roman legion symbol carved in stone, they’ve built the aqueduct. Cross Jiser a’ Zarka and reach a picturesque fishermen village. Walk south along the beach to reach Caesarea where you can enjoy a tour of the old ruins.

3. Small Crater edge to Ein Yorke’am: 15 km long and aside from a intermediately difficult downhill on Ma’ale Yamin, climbing a 10 meter ladder, and a short walk along a cliff, the trail is fairly easy. You should carry 4 L water per person. Walk from road 227 to a beautiful overlook of the small crater. Return and continue west to Mezad Zafir. The view of the Yamin Planes is nice. In Ma’ale Yamin the eco of your voice sounds longer than 5 seconds, give out a shout and hear it for yourself. Beautiful blossom happens in fall time. Go down the Yamin stream and continue west to Wadi Hatira. Go up the Palmach ascent, using a 10 meter high ladder. Arrive at Ein Yorke’am.

4. From Gazit junction to Upper Nazeareth: 18 km, intermediate-advanced trail, especially going up the Tabor mountain which is steep and challenging. Carry 4 L water per person. Your efforts will be rewarded with the breathtaking view from the Tabor Mountain. Go down to Shibli through the Ben-Keshet forest and up Debora Mountain, where you observe the Mt. Tabor. Go down and up the Barak stream through the Nazareth Iris reserve, blooming in Feb-Mar. End in upper Nazareth.

5. From Mitzpe Ramon to Mif’ar Gevanim on route 40: 14 Km (19 if you continue to the field school of Mitzpe Ramon). 5 L water per person. Going up to “Ramon tooth” is difficult and so is “Zohalim Valley”. If you do not want to pass by the field school, go down to the crater on the green marked trail and join the Israel national trail after 1 km. This will save you 5 Km. The view from Mitzpe Ramon boardwalk is one of the most beautiful views on the Israel National Trail. There is only one tree along the way and you may rest in its shadow. Continue south towards “Ramon tooth – Shen Ramon”, a steep climb and then go down east and climb back up through “Zohalim Valley” for another beautiful view of the Crater. The hike ends on route 40.

6. Sataf to Bar Giora: 15 km, intermediate hike. Especially nice during springtime. Start at the Sataf. In winter time in early morning, Sorek river valley is often wrapped in heavy fog, which is a beautiful site from above. Go down the Sataf to Sorek stream, continue towards Ein-Heindak and up to Hirbat Sa’adim on the Ma’ayanot trail (Springs’ trail). The view going up is beautiful. Go down to Refa’im valley, which is rather steep. Go up Kobi stream to Ein-Kobi. Continue through some pine tree woods. Bar Giora is on road 386, a few hundreds of meters from the trail.

7. Barak stream to Zihor: 30 Km, intermediate or more due to its length. It’s a steep uphill climb in the Barak Canyon and a steep down hill in Vardit Canyon. Carry 5 L water per person. Go from Barak night camp, about 2 km off route 90, and continue in Barak stream and up the Barak Canyon, using ladders and pegs attached to the rocks. Continue on a mostly planar trail and reach the Vardit Canyon, go down using ladders and pegs as well. In winter time after flooding, you can swim through water-full pits. Exit through Vardit Canyon and walk the wide Paran river valley, south to the Zihor junction.

8. Yesha junction to Dishon village: 16 Km, easy to intermediate, suitable for families hiking Israel. Take 4 L water per person. Pass a beautiful outlook of the Hula Valley on Keren Naftaly. Best season is spring. Walking the Dishon river is fun and very beautiful.

9. Be’er Metek to Timna Park: 15 Km, accessible only by 4X4 from route 12. The view of Timna is absolutely breathtaking. Ma’ale Milhan is steep and beautiful. Pass “Bik’at Sasgon” and the impressive Sasgon Mountain. From Tinma park entrance go up the Timna mountain from which you will view the whole area. In the afternoon the desert colors are especially eye catching. End by the Timna lake. Carry 5 L water per person. Walking up Ma’ale Milhan is difficult and so is the climb to mount Timna.

10. Mt. Meron: 13 Km, beginning in Hirbat Humema and ending in Meron village. Suitable for families. 3 L water per person. Going up Mt. Meron is a bit difficult but not too steep. Climb Mt. Neria for a beautiful overlook. Continue to the peak trail, towards the peak day camp. From there down towards Hirbat B”ak, Hirbat Shema and Moshav Meron (Meron village).



Source by Jacob Saar

Hiking to Dazzling Ramona Falls, Oregon – USA

Ramona Falls is one of the premier attractions of Mt. Hood National Park Oregon. The site features magnificent cascades that rush down from the mountainside of Mount Hood. The falls flow from the top and through a rock wall that rises up to 120 feet.

It is truly a picturesque waterfall worthy of being on photos and postcards. But before you are enticed to marvel at Ramona up close, you should know that it is not going to be easy. Visiting Ramona Falls means you need to hike a seven-mile trail that takes you to an elevation of more than 1000 feet. But don’t get discouraged! The combination of this very scenic hike and the sight of the magnificent falls are more than enough reason to take on the Ramona Falls Trail.

Ramona Falls Trail is open from the last week of April through October. It starts from the south, passing through the gorgeous Ramona Falls. The trail then heads north before going back to the trailhead and completing a loop. This loop trail is actually officially part of the Pacific Crest Trail. Completing the trail usually takes four and a half hours. Even though the total distance is not that long, it still takes time to complete due to the rising elevation of the trail.

Speed hikers can definitely finish the entire hike in less than three hours. But Ramona Falls is not the kind of place that you want to be in a hurry leaving. Allocate a couple of hours in enjoying the falls and relaxing next to it, and of course, get some great photos. Expect that the northern leg of the trail will be more scenic than the southern leg because it features a lush green landscape that surrounds Ramona Creek. You will also encounter towering cliffs before going south again towards the trailhead.

The Ramona Falls Trail is a favorite among day-hikers from Portland, which is the main gateway to the falls. Seasoned hikers who are taking on nearby routes like the Timberlaine Trail and Yocum Ridge, usually make it a point to stop by Ramona Falls. Some of them often choose to camp nearby the site. But even with the big number of visitors coming to Ramona, it still remains a must-see, especially if you are a nature lover and outdoor enthusiast. But before you hike away, make sure to consult with the local park authorities so that they can advise you about the route and the varying conditions especially the crossing of the river on foot.

As mentioned, it is possible to camp overnight near the vicinity of the falls. From Ramona Falls, there are two trails that lead you to designated campgrounds. One of them goes Northwest, while the other to the West. The West trail leads to a number of paths that bring you to various campsites. This is the reason most people choose this particular trail. The Northwest trail goes along Ramon Creek, which offers several nice and serene places to camp. The great thing about these campsites is that they have enough space to accommodate a big crowd, especially during busy summer weekends.

You will need to acquire a National Forest Recreation Day Pass at $5.00 or an annual pass before embarking on a Ramona Falls hiking adventure. Details regarding the passes are available at the Mt. Hood National Forest Service website.



Source by Nagib Georges Araman

Camping, Hiking and Knowing What Foods to Eat to Keep You Energized

If you're out in the wild on a great camping trip I hope that means that you are leaving the confines of the camp site and making a day of hiking, swimming, fishing, climbing, etc. Camping is a great fitness trip but like all fitness activities your body needs energy to keep going, especially on long activities that your body may not be used to.

That is where food comes in to play. Believe it or not … not all food is created equal, even if calories are.

For example the benefits that come from eating a peanut butter sandwich (on wheat) completely differs from eating a piece of chocolate cake. The cake is called empty calories, you get the calories but get no healthy benefits and though your energy may quickly rise, it will also quickly fall … and all you'll be left with is extra stored fat.

Now for camping and your outdoor fitness activities … there are 3 important times to eat and I will of course start with the first:

What should you eat before exercise?

You want food that is slowly absorbed to give last energy that will not spike and quickly fall like the cake example. Foods should combine these three big groups:

* Complex carbs (whole wheat, fruits, veggies)

* Protein (nuts, meats, beans)

* Fiber

Food like: peanut butter sandwich, turkey wrap, nuts, apple and peanut butter just to name a few.

What to eat during activities

Foods that are easily digested, absorbed and easy on the stomach. Energy gels, drinks, and energy bars are great ideas, or homemade trailmix.

Recovery, what to eat when the workout is over?

Your body and muscles are nurtured and need to recovery. The magic muscle recovery food is: Protein, protein and protein. You'll be carving a good hearty meal after your long day out away from the campsite so your body will remind you of its need for rich quality protein. So what are good protein options? Turkey burgers (here's a great camping recipe), grilled chicken, fish, seafood, lean beef, bison, nuts, etc.

When packing food just keep in mind the 3 factors:
portability (apples, bananas and other fruit is great), shelf life, and convenience (are you able to pack it, fix and enjoy it?)

My Person Power Foods, straight from the fitness trainer's mouth:

Whey protein, Powerbars, energy bars, Cliff gels, rice cakes and peanut butter, almonds, apples and pears, whole wheat bread, water, grilled chicken and sweet potatoes, ostrich jerky and energy cubes.

I recommend drinking protein shake after each big fitness activity you do. It energizes you and feeds the muscle. This is not just a guys drink, even women should have one. Do not worry they wont bulk you up.

For camping, I hope that you are as active as possible and not simply sitting around the fire all day. Hit the trails and burn off some calories, use this time as fitness time for you and you camping group. Just stay energized!



Source by Kindal Guthrie

Patagonia: A Leading Destination For Hikers And Anglers

Within the southernmost part of Latin America is a vast territory of magnificent beauty – the Patagonia. Shared between the nations of Chile and Argentina, Patagonia delivers incredible panoramas, glaciers, mountains, along with almost everything a trekker could imagine.

Trekking in Patagonia is probably every hiker's fantasy. It truly is world distinguished because of its unceasing pampas, wild forests, wonderful aqua green waters, vibrant creatures, huge glaciers and spectral landscapes.

Every aspect of Patagonia contains something distinctive. There is certainly a lot more to this spot than simply a haven of mountain ranges and wetlands. If you are searching for excellent outdoor pursuits, then participate in snowboarding, mountaineering, along with the legendary fly fishing.

Winter Sports

Planning to go snowboarding on the subsequent visit? Then the Lake District is definitely a must visit! Here, you can find the top ski hills placed all around you. A notable site certainly is the Cerro Catedral based in the periphery of Bariloche. Moreover, while you are up there, you will be able to check out some of the most wonderful landscapes of Patagonia – a superb technique to admire the appeal of the whole region.

A Fisherman's Dreamland

Do not go home without trying out the highly acclaimed Patagonia fly fishing. In the event you do not know the pursuit yet, allow me to introduce you to it. Fly fishing is a sort of angling that involves utilizing a synthetic fly. It is different from the standard angling techniques as the fly is cast with a rod, reel, in addition to a customized weighed line. The man-made fly is actually a hand-made material, typically made of yarn, foam, or feather that is like natural invertebrates or food (termed bait) so that you can tempt fish to the hook. The species of fish within the rich waters of Patagonia happen to be substantially large and numerous, so you can be prepared to net the giant types. To experience the top Patagonia fly fishing, go with Junin de los Andes, and Villa La Angostura. All these fishing areas will certainly provide you with the best fly fishing experience you might ever have.

Hikers, Rejoice!

Last but not least, you have the Patagonia hiking. Naturally, this is what you actually planned to do – go up to the highest summit attainable and appreciate its magnificent view. The mountain ranges here are certainly an exciting heaven to trek. It's just amazing (and nerve-wracking) to ascend the extraordinary mountains and trek all over the green woods, tremendous grasslands, plus the shining waters of the lakes and rivers. Of course, if you are looking for more adventure, the options are countless. Applying hot springs, a gorgeous lake-side beach, shining azure glaciers, colorful giant towers, and much more are yours to discover.

Patagonia has demonstrated itself as a major hot spot due to its vibrant biodiversity, and specifically as a leading tourist spot designed for outside journeys as well as remarkable encounters with the grasslands, mountains, lakes as well as its original plants and creatures. In the eyes of holiday makers, this specific area is unquestionably a wonderful escape from all of the requirements of existence. Even then, it truly is a long way beyond words will be able to explain; therefore, the ideal way to take pleasure in Patagonia hiking is to do it.



Source by Tanya S

Online Stores For Camping Gear

Camping gears are available at several online stores like campmor.com, rei.com, camping-r-us.com.au, outdoor-gear-online.com, ems.com, campingquipmentworld.com, camping-gear-outlet.com , and altrec.com. All provide various choices of camping essentials coming from reputable suppliers.

To have a memorable camping experience, the first thing to do is to be equipped with the most dependable gears and essentials. Choosing a good quality of camping gear and equipment is just one click away from different online stores like:

Campmor – campmor.com

With over 30 years in the industry, it has a good selection of discounted camping gears from clothing, to tools and gadgets.

REI – rei.com

An outdoor clothing company who owns to the top "100 Best Companies to Work For" has complete lines of camping gear selection for climbing, hiking, camping, and snowsports.

Camping-R-Us – camping-r-us.com.au

A company who specializes in backpacks, tents and swags with over 20 years of experience in camping equipment has a wide range of outdoor gears. All stocks come from quality suppliers like Coleman, Oztrail, Kookaburra and a whole lot more.

Outdoor-gear – outdoor-gear-online.com

The best source for camping equipment online, Outdoor-gear offers an affordable price for all gears and equipment.

Eastern Mountain Sports – ems.com

An online store for camping gear and equipment, which ensures guaranteed satisfaction for every purchase made. The company follows a full refund policy in case of dissatisfaction on the part of the end-users.

Camping-Equipment-World – campingquipmentworld.com

An outdoor equipment company, which is one of the leading and fastest camping gear retailers with over 400 online stores from different manufacturing partners. This is where you can find all camping essentials from sleeping to cooking.

Camping gear outlet – camping-gear-outlet.com

This company specializes on camping gears for all types of outdoor recreation with a wide collection of best value equipment.

Altrec.com – altrec.com

Managed by a dynamic team, this site provides you with the best information about outdoor gear and equipment in the market that is suitable for all ages.

Before choosing a perfect gear, determine first the camp location and the number of campers so that you will not end up choosing the wrong type of gear. If you want to spend a day or two in a mountainous area, choose a tent that is especially designed for hilly lands. If you are planning a big family camping adventure, choose a tent that can accommodate a huge number of people. It's not the brand of camping gear that counts but, the quality. Although quality products sometimes are bit expensive, it is worth the investment than the cheaper and less durable ones.

Note that camping stoves can be considered a gear you may really want to bring along.



Source by Pie Leopoldo

Always Be Prepared When You Head Out Hiking

There are many things to consider before you take off for a day of hiking in the woods. Never be done unprepared in case of an emergency. What you plan on never happening usually has a way of happening when you are least prepared.

Whenever you are planning on an outdoor trek to your favorite spot, it is important that you include some basic emergency supplies along with your regular gear. It is always smart to include a few extra energy bars and bottles of water. This may a little extra weight to your pack but it is always better to be prepared than prepared in a situation where you wish you had extra.

It is also smart to include a compass, no matter how many times you have been to the same area there is always a chance that you could get turned around and lose your bearings or landmarks that you have come to relly on may no longer be there . A compass is an inexpensive way to maintain your location if you find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings.

Also include some type of poncho or covering that can protect you in the case of a sudden and unexpected storm. Although you checked the weather before you left, it is not uncommon for a sudden downpour to occur. A poncho is very light and will serve as a barrier between you and the weather.

If you become stranded overnight due to unforeseen events, there should also be some type of fire starting kit in your back pack. Having the ability to produce a small fire will be very important. The temperature may drop and a fire will provide you with enough warmth to survive the night.

It will also serve as a light source very dark and dangerous surroundings. A small flashlight is another option to provide light but the importance of being warm can be achieved by just including a small flint or other fire producing source in your pack.

Just by adding these items to your pack, you will be much more prepared if something should occur on your hike.

There is nothing more important than planning for the unexpected in any situation. Even though you may consider yourself to be an excellent hiker, there is always the chance that an accident or unforeseen weather conditions may arise. Always be prepared and you will feel safer on every outing.



Source by Michael Ruiz

Where to Hike – Choosing the Right Place

General Considerations for Finding a Place to Hike

The first thing to ask yourself is, what exactly are you looking for? Then, consider what places are within your reach, practically speaking. Be sure to find out if the activity you have in mind is permitted in the place you’re going to. Last and perhaps most importantly, consider what you can handle.

With all these things in mind, you can start looking. There’s a list of suggestions and resources at the end of this article.

What are you looking for?

Do you want to add just a little contact with nature to your everyday life? Consider your local city parks or reservation lands. Even private lands, if the owner is amenable, such as the fringes of farms, woodlots, or other such undeveloped areas can offer a peaceful and interesting place to visit with wild things. Check your town’s Web site and your local library for information about parks and outdoor recreation areas, or just ask around among your neighbors. And don’t forget your own back yard. There may be more fascinating birds, insects, and plants there than you imagine. You never know until you get out there and just open your eyes and ears for a while.

Do you want to find a real wilderness area that you can visit once in a while and get to know well? Check your state’s Web site for state and national parks, national forests, and other large outdoor recreation areas within your travel range. Read books and articles about the area before your first visit so you know what to expect. Study the roads and the location of parking areas so you have a good idea of how long it will take to get there.

Are you planning a business trip or vacation in an unfamiliar place and hoping to explore its natural history first-hand? Now you’ve got some research to do! Check the Web for tourism sites in the area you’re planning to visit. Remember to look for printable field guides to the plants and wildlife in the area. Consider several alternatives, in case you discover after you arrive that your first choice isn’t going to work out. (I never got outside of Palermo when I visited Sicily, when my planned trip to Mount Aetna was canceled due to eruption!)

Are you planning a trip where hiking is the main objective? Good for you! You’ll want to consider carefully, and find out as much as you can about the place before you depart. Get some information from books and Web sites. Then get some more. Be sure to filter the information properly: If someone has something to sell you, they might make it sound more attractive and more accessible than it really is. Find out if you need reservations for campsites, canoe rentals and such.

Places you can get to

Read those maps carefully! Sixty miles by road might look like an hour’s drive, but not if it’s an unpaved logging road through rough country. You don’t want to get caught out in wilderness unprepared, and unable to get out before people start worrying about you.

If you are planning to visit the area repeatedly, allow yourself plenty of time to get to know the place. Try a few alternate routes to find the best one. Try a few different access points — parking lots, trail heads, etc. — before you pick which one will be “your place.” You’ll be back many times, so don’t get discouraged if you find that your first choice is not as good as you hoped.

If you are going on a once-in-a-lifetime visit, you might want to hire a guide. Yes, it’s an expense and a bit of an intrusion, but it’s better than getting in trouble. When you contact the guide to plan your hike, make sure they understand your objectives — whether you want to race to that mountain peak, or just take it slow and watch the birds — and give them an honest assessment of your capabilities. If they are taking you as part of a group, make sure the rigid tour schedule will not make your vacation a chore for you.

Is it Allowed?

Take stock of what you intend to do, and whether it might be prohibited or restricted. Many parks do not allow camping. Fishing is forbidden or restricted in many lakes and rivers. (I know a beautiful pond in a state park where only children are allowed to fish.)

Are you planning to bring your dog along for the hike? Not all parks permit dogs, and most require that the dog be on a leash.

There are also restrictions on power boats, snowmobiles, and even off-road bicycles. Make sure the place you plan to go permits what you plan to do.

Can you take it?

Make an honest assessment of your abilities, both physical and mental, and plan for caution. Think you can walk twelve miles in a day? Don’t plan on more than seven miles in unfamiliar country.

Carefully read the trail descriptions and degree of difficulty before you decide what you can handle. If it says “rugged,” that means you should not plan on setting any land speed records there.

Bear in mind that most trail guide literature is written by people with extensive hiking experience and above-average physical condition. If you’re a couch potato hoping to become a great outdoorsman, don’t plan on taking the same hike that the great outdoorsman calls “challenging.”

Pay attention to the contour lines you see on most trail maps. They tell you how steep the trail is, generally. A one-mile trail that climbs 500 feet is a walk in the park. A one-mile trail that climbs 2,000 feet might be impassable to the average sedentary person.

Again, make sure your self-assessment is honest. You might tell a great adventure story at home, but you can’t fool the elements. When you’re out on the trail, no amount of bravado can make up for a lack of physical fitness.

Suggestions

Don’t overlook a place because it’s popular. True, crowds take away from the sense of peace and solitude, and wildlife avoids contact with people. But if you go at the right time of day, you might find something close to wilderness, even in a place that is usually crowded. Most people are most active late in the day, and most animals are most active at dusk and dawn. That spells it out for you: Wherever you go, try to go there at dawn.

If you are fortunate enough to have a state or national park nearby, that’s probably your best choice. Otherwise, for frequent quick visits, don’t overlook your city parks and private property.

Before hiking on private property, introduce yourself to the owner. As long as they know who you are and what you’re up to, most people are happy to allow hikers to use their woods and fields. Of course, some landowners have had bad experiences, and you certainly must respect their rights to protect their property from damage and their livestock from injury and harassment. Remember that many landowners have agreements with hunting clubs, so they might not be able to let you hike on their land during hunting season.

When planning a trip to an unknown area, make sure you do your research ahead of time. Again, state and national parks are probably your best choices. Not only are they the most likely to offer a good hiking experience, they are also the best documented. You certainly won’t be able to find a source on the Web that tells you what to expect on Farmer Jones’ back forty, but there’s a wealth of information about public parklands. On another note, you’ll find plenty of information about commercial recreation areas, but they all have a financial interest in getting you to visit the place. Public parks are more likely to have plain and truthful information available.

Resources

  • Your local library. Look for books about your chosen destination. If you are planning a trip to an area you are not familiar with, look for local outdoor-oriented magazines.
  • Google. Enter the name of the city or state and the word “hiking,” and you’ll find an inexhaustible chain of links to information you can use.
  • American Hiking Society (http://www.americanhiking.org/). Search their “Alliance of Hiking Organizations” for affiliated organizations in your area.
  • National Park Service (http://www.nps.gov/). The mother lode, for the United States.
  • USDA Forest Service (http://www.fs.fed.us/). Another extremely rich source, broken down by regions of the United States.



Source by Chuck Bonner

How to Pack Your Backpack for a Hiking Trip

Throwing all your gear into your pack and heading off isn’t the best practice for a comfy hiking experience. The way in which you pack your backpacking backpack will make a huge difference to how it feels on your back.

If you’ve never gone backpacking overnight before or haven’t done it in a while these simple and easy to follow guidelines really will make your trek more enjoyable.

First things first, lay out all your backpacking gear on the floor and organize it into piles. For example, cookware, toiletries, backpacking first aid kit, clothing, sleeping gear, food and anything else you are bringing along with you.

I highly recommend using zip lock bags or resealable bags that you can suck out all the air from. They help to save space and protect your gear from moisture, plus they really do help to keep your gear organized in your backpack.

Anything that you want easy and quick access to, especially while you are hiking should be placed in pockets that you can reach with your backpack on your back or in easy to reach spots of your pack.

Secondly, pack your lightest gear at the bottom of your backpack. If your backpack is designed with a bottom compartment for your sleeping bag then use it. If not then stuff your sleeping bag into the very bottom of your backpack. If you’re bringing along a pillow put that in next and any other really lightweight items.

The heaviest items in your gear should be placed closest to your back, preferably between your shoulder blades.

If you place too much weight in your hiking backpack or do not pack the weight properly you may experience pain and discomfort in your back, neck and or shoulders.

So how much weight should you take with you? The rule of thumb is 25-30% of your ideal body weight. Naturally a very fit and experienced hiker may be able to take more weight whereas a less experienced and less fit hiker should consider packing less weight with them.

Third, make sure to tighten all your compression straps. This will help to keep your gear in place without shifting and causing you hiking discomfort.

Last but not least, after you have your hiking backpack on your back, make sure to tighten your shoulder, hip and sternum straps.

A well packed backpacking backpack should transfer the weight of your gear to your hip belt and minimize the weight from your shoulders.

If you pack your backpack well your hiking trip will feel much better, you won’t have an achy back, shoulders and neck when you arrive at your destination. Because your gear may shift a bit during your hike it is important to take the time to adjust your straps as you are hiking for the most comfortable hike you can get.

Happy Hiking!



Source by Leanne Arnott