15 Jun Preparing for the Hiking Season
As we roll into spring, it is time to start planning some outdoor adventures. A little mountain hiking should be on the list, but you need to prepare before you go.
When the weather starts to warm up, it can get your juices flowing. Egad, let me outside! I am sick of the winter, the snow and cold! This is a natural feeling, but you need to do a bit of preparation before you decide to do some serious outdoor hiking. This is particularly true if you are going up!
Your overall health is obviously important. If you have been sitting on the couch all winter, going on a six-hour hike is going to result in some serious sore muscles. Heck, a one-hour hike might have the same result! The fact you might have spent some time in the gym over the winter will not suffice. It would be wise to start taking some leisurely walks when you have time. This could be at lunch or after work. Once you have your endurance again, you can head out on longer trips.
The second thing you need to take into account is where you are going to be hiking. If you are going to be on a fairly flat surface, go ahead and knock yourself out. If you plan to do a hike with elevation in it, you may be surprised how quickly the old legs give out. The best bet is to find a stair climber machine and do some reps a couple times a week. If you don’t mind people staring at you, do the sessions wearing a backpack. It will get your back, neck and shoulders up to speed.
Finally, a few idiots [me] will want to immediately head off to the closest mountain to hike to the peak. To one extent or another, this can bring the issue of altitude change into the picture. A few years ago, I actually was stupid enough to fly from my coastal town to Colorado and go mountaineering in Steamboat Springs with a friend. It was like the baton death march. There was a serious amount of gasping going on. Afterwards, I was wiped out for about three days. Not smart.