Answers about Camping and Hiking!

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Hiking Equipment

An old bootA hike of 5 to 10- hour a day can make for an adventure. Be it a trek for a few weeks or an excursion for a single day you will find unexpected things happen while on a hike. So many different experiences await you on a particular day so slow down and enjoy it.

Having the right hiking equipment can be as important as the air you breathe, and this post is to help you prepare for the many situations that can arise during a hike.

Here are some must-have hiking equipment for you to take during your next hike:

Backpack and Rain Cover

You certainly should not forget to get a backpack. This pack will contain everything you will need on your hike. A rain cover keeps your pack and all contained in it dry. This can be the difference between life and death in certain weather conditions.

You may ask “Why get out at all if it is raining?” If you hike long you will find that rainy days are inevitable.  I love hiking in the rain and you may too. Rain happens so you better get equipped for rain for your day hike as well.

Food

Is it required to pack food during the journey?

It is always good to pack some food with you when you plan to go for day hike. Although your hike is supposed to end in 2 hours, any side trail you may interested to go may make you end up wandering in the wild  for more than 5 hours or so. You may get hungry and not have any food available near by. So it is definitely better to add some food to your list of hiking equipment.

Boots

One of the important points to note down while selecting boots is that, every pound of boot is equivalent to 5 pounds of weight at your back. This is how the body works; you will definitely feel it. Your boots should suit the nature of the trail you are planning to hike. While a pair of sneakers is enough for some trails, others really need heavy hiking boots designed for it.

Gaiters

If at all you would like to get accustomed to rains, these are essential. These are same as rain cover. The purpose of gaiters is to avoid water running along your legs and entering your boot tops.

It is a waste of time to waterproof your boots If you don’t bother to seal the big opening of your boots through which your legs fit into, duh.

Socks

I recommend you pack two pairs of socks. A sock having an outer wool and an inner polypropylene combination is my recommendation in order to keep your feet warm and dry. Test out different socks to figure out what works best for your feet.

Hiking preperation

hiking-598203_640You need proper preparation for hiking. Safety is important on your hike so you need to ensure that you are prepared for the unexpected. If proper preparation is done before hand, then you can avoid  dangerous situations that may arise.

The basic idea when packing for hiking is always  is to minimize weight of your backpack. Plan ahead and think of the risks and possible hazards of your trip and pack accordingly.

Packing sounds easy but it is actually harder than it sounds. Some naive hikers overestimate what activities they will do while on their hike, so generally they will pack more items than they have to. Because of this, the weight of their backpack makes hiking on the trail quite slow.

Follow these tips for packing for your trip.

Duration of the Trip

Before the trip, identify the length of your trip and pack only enough for your trip.

Food and water.

How many days food and water will you need?

For most people water is an issue, as it is quite difficult to survive without water and an average hiker will require at least 3-4 liters of water a day.

Next is food, you need to plan your menu ahead of time. Provide enough food for each person o the hike and the number of days.

Shelter

The third concern is the shelter. Plan for shelter but be prepared if you don’t make it to your destination. This means  having tents in your gear. So take the lightest weight compact tent, that you can find that will accommodate all the folks on your hike.

Weather conditions

Consider the weather and pack the right kind of cloths. However be sure you bring some insurance cloths, by this I mean a fleece sweater and a rain shell. I never go hiking with out a fleece and a shell. This protects me from a wind and water which could cause hypothermia even in what seems to be a warm day.

Be prepared.

Hiking Boots

Is there anything peculiar about hiking boots? Apart from the fact of being expensive, are they really needed in your hiking trip, especially when you are a beginner in the field?

The answer of this question is “Yes.”

Hiking boots, more or less, is the most important thing that you cannot do without in the entire hiking gear. It is a foot that is used more than any other organ of your body during hiking, and this is the reason why you have to give them ample protection. Sturdily constructed hiking boots are capable of giving protection to your feet from harsh trails.

Following is a list of guidelines to be followed while choosing to buy your hiking boots:

That “Solid” Feeling

This ought to be the prime quality of hiking boots. The good-quality boots provide us with a solid feeling at the bottom, which prevents the feet from feeling rocks and stones through their soles. What is the immediate result? You may soon have the possibility of getting hurt after traveling for miles, and certainly that is not good, especially when you have to further travel for a few more miles before breaking your camp.

Test for the solidity before you buy a pair of boots. Press your thumb against its sole at the bottom. These boots would not be able to give your feet the required protection if they are soft. You can also test them by twisting the soles of the boots. These boots, if they are soft enough to be twisted, are also not fit for hiking.

You have to keep in mind that the trails may not be as smooth as the pavement ahead your home. More often they would be rocky, and if your feet are not given adequate protection using good hiking boots, they can even exert huge pain.

Side Protection

It is not only the bottom part of the hiking boots that is important. Good boots should also be capable of providing protection to the sides of your feet. In fact, the reason for their being called “heavy” is that these boots are given extra padding in order to protect your feet from rocks, stones, and branches of trees , which you may place your feet on and which could pierce into the sides of your boot.

If at all you have decided to buy fabric boots, you have to get those boots with protective “welts.” Welts are fixed at about 1/2 inch or more up above the soles in order to give additional protection.

Ankle Support

It was obvious that Achilles did not know anything about boots, so he was not able to give protection when his ankle was hit with an arrow by Paris. You need not follow Achilles’ footsteps. Good support for ankles is a must for hiking boots.

Follow these when you pick them:

Take hold of the top side of the boot.

Try bending it sideways.

It is not likely to give the ample level of protection required by you on the trail if the boots are to bend easily.

The top part of the boot ought to be firm enough in order to hold the ankle in position. These are the criteria to choose a pair of hiking boots with good quality and support.

Don’t Let the Water In

A wet foot is the cause of blisters. Blisters are certainly painful. They are evil too. You have to prevent their occurrence at any cost. A solution is to get hiking boots with waterproofing ability. Even if your hiking boots are not waterproof, see that they could at least be waterproofed. One way of getting fabric boots waterproofed is to use special waterproofing solutions, like liquid silicone. However, such solutions are not capable of waterproofing them enough as to make them useful.

Hiking Clubs

One of the best methods to get into hiking is to join a hiking club, where there will be several scheduled hikes, by which you can get the benefits of the experience of other people.

The other members of the club will help you learn a lot of things. They can give information about the local areas and tell you noteworthy points. You may even make friends with similar  interests who are adventurous and want to join you for your hiking expeditions.

Clubs can have different personalities and characteristics. Choose a club that you most relate to and match your desired frequency and personality.

All around the America you can see about a few clubs who will arrange hiking vacation

Fairbanks Area Hiking Club

This is an associate which is situated in the interior region of Alaska and the residents here enjoy the crevices of beautiful Alaska. They research these areas by wearing snowshoe, ski, bare foot or wearing boots. These journeys will take you from Denali National park throughout to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as well as through the White Mountains and along the rivers of the Tanana and Chena.

Alabama Hiking Trail Society

This is the prominent hiking club in the state of Alabama to promote, save, develop, maintain and support a comprehensive trail system covering the entire state. If you love hiking and if you are near and around Alabama, you can go from Huntsville to Mobile with the Alabama Hiking Trail society.

One of the benefits of becoming a part of these clubs is that all the activities you participate in is brought under the Group liability Insurance policy.

Off the Beaten Trail

This have both social and hiking club. You can participate in which ever you want .It was first created by the Lorie and Ward who together began running this club in summer 2002 .Now the club has become so popular that over 300 members have joined this club. This hiking group mainly involves people who are single and those who inhabit the metropolitan area of AZ and phoenix.

Desert Trails Hiking Club

The Desert Trail hiking club is well known and they conduct different types of hikes and you can choose whichever you want. There easy, moderate as well as highly stressful and strenuous hikes. You can enroll yourself to go for the Coachella valley hike and beyond the valley while enjoying the comradeship and friendliness of the club.

Trailblazers Hiking Club

The outdoor activities of the Trailblazers hiking club is in the Mountain regions of eastern Oklahoma and west side of  Arkansas. The hiking club offers a variety of hikes like short, long, difficult and relaxed and they will be held on different schedules. These hikes are scheduled nearly every weekend from autumn to spring .You can go through the events section on the website to choose the event that you would like.

Go For A Hike It Is Good For You!

Hiking is a popular, inexpensive way to get out and take a break from daily life. The really good news is it is excellent for both your body and brain.

Go For A Hike It Is Good For You!

Saying that there are benefits associated with hiking may sound a bit obvious. Getting out and walking is a pretty obvious way to get some exercise. That being said, burning a few calories is not really the point.

If you are looking for a workout, hiking offers an opportunity to break a sweat. The level of excursion, however, is not as high as most other exercises. As a result, there are two ways to get the cardio benefits of hiking.

The first is to walk for more than 20 minutes. This consistently keeps your heart rate up and starts to burn calories. 20 minutes, however, isn’t really going to cut it unless you do it every day. To really break a sweat and build stamina, you want to hike at least an hour. If it sounds like a lot, keep in mind you are going 30 minutes in one direction and 30 minutes back.

The second method is to go up. By up, I mean to hike a trail with elevation changes. Generally, a trail that goes up at a slight incline for a long time is better than one that goes up steeply for a short period. Time is a key factor, so try to find a trail that isn’t going to wipe you out in the first 200 feet.

Regardless of the exercise element, the mental benefits of hiking are well noted. Life can be hectic and stress can build up without being noticed. Hiking is like taking a timeout from life. You have an hour or more to just walk along and relax. The walking helps burn off the stress while the time gives you a chance to just think without interruption. Psychologist note that nearly every adult benefits from having a little “me” time when they are not being tugged this way and that by people, telephone calls and even email messages. At the end of your hike, I guarantee you will feel refreshed and have a new perspective on things.

That hiking is good for you, both physically and mentally, is an undisputed fact. Of course, the only way to benefit from it is to head out and start hiking. Get out there!

Hiking Sticks

These are the sticks which are used for descending towards the steep down slopes. Several people claim about the benefits of the sticks used for hiking purpose. But still there are controversies as people who are completely involved in hiking ,like mountaineers and hardcore hikers says that only way to get the thrill of the hiking is to move on without one.

Though the debate goes on let us see what a hiking stick is. These are nothing but walking sticks used by people for walking everyday or for the usage of trekking down through the descents and ascents in the wild woods.

They take many forms and shapes, so that you will detect the hiking stick looking similar to the single rounds which are made out of woods or pairs of convolutes height adjustable sticks which are of very less weight, but will be quite expensive. The money also set out according to the kind of hiking stick that you wish to get. If your hiking stick is just a wood that is found, then it will be having no charge.

Let us see why we need to use hiking stick. You can see that old people will be carrying poles, walker or crutches in order to walk with the help of it. Likewise hiking sticks also help you to climb the hikes, it will be supportive to your moves and it’s designed and developed with additional stability, these sticks will also help to back up by spreading the full weight on the legs onto your limbs. Though several people says that, there is no need to have a hiking stick, those who suffer for the delight in the backwoods due to knee injury or aches they come across the hills by carrying heavy loads which will lay some extra pressure on their weak knees. You will be happy to end up with the endearing feet with the help of hiking sticks.

There are both advantages as well as disadvantages for the hiking stick.

Decrease the pain in the knees

Your knees is the most supportive part of the knees and as your body weight falls on the knees ,along with the backpack on your back and the backwoods and rough climatic conditions all will bestow the distance of your hike, the influence of gravity which itself become stressful on the joints muscles, thus causing pain in the knees.

With the help of hiking stick, you can decrease the pressure developed by the descents and ascents. Hiking sticks use to reduce the discomfort in the knees that hikers may experience

Increase the strength to climb up

You can use the hiking stick to do some of the work for you as you need not feel heavy on your feet for all the time.4*4 model will be the best one which can be carried .The end result is that you can get up more easily and the load will be evenly distributed around the muscles.

Increase the enduring power

Help in crossing the soft ground

Can help in balancing the activities like river crossing ,going through the talus etc

Disadvantages

Some money has to be spend on it to get a good one

Will increase the energy spent

Through Hiking your legs are the one which gets affected most, compared to the arms. By using the sticks for hiking you will be actually decreasing the budget by avoiding treatments for the legs

Due to poor make, it may become not efficient

Get in the method of technological sections

You will be more attentive

Layers

You can see the sky waiting for you at the top. But lets not celebrate until you get there.grand-teton-national-park-flowers-725x544

Mountain hiking has become the trend now a day. Mountain hiking is a trip in which you usually go longer distance and into higher elevations than most regular hikes.

The basic thing to remember is that both equipment and gear for mountain hiking can be different, depending on the mountain that you are planning to climb along with the weather conditions.

Needed gear list useful for mountain hiking trips below:

Clothes

Similar to the simple hiking, the type of clothes should be for appropriate for hiking. Mountain hiking also requires the clothes to have three distinct layers. The clothes should not be cotton and should be made of synthetic material. The First layer you should wear a pair of synthetic long johns both top and bottom. The base layer will help you keep your skin dry.

The second layer is the insulation layer which delivers more warmth, the base and shell layer do not deliver insulation as such. Mountain hiking shirts for the particular climate like Fleece or flannel sweaters are good insulators. Pants made of fleece or the like with zips on the sides to break open if you feel too hot.

The conditions in the mountain hiking can be extreme. A super insulation layer is often needed. You need to add additional number of insulation so as to make your body equalize in order to bear the cold. Some insulated clothes will have a hood to keep your head warm. There are expedition pants called down pants or pile pants

The third and last layer is called the shell layer which will provide protection from rain, wind, snow dew etc.

Taking care of your eyes

The mountain ice mass of Alaska may irritate your eyes. So you need to take of your eyes and protect it from snow and avoid immense glare even on a cloudy day, otherwise snow blindness may result. The sun glasses used for mountain hiking should give your eyes ultimate protection from ultraviolet and infrared beams along with the glare protection from the sides.

Rain makes a great hike

appalachian-trail-waterfallI love hiking in the rain, let me tell you why… First let me start by telling you that while on the trail one stretch of rain lasted 18 days. Some of those days the rain was long and hard. Other days it was light and short but for 18 days it rained.

Here is what I learned about hiking in the rain.

1. Attitude makes all the difference. At first I hated it and couldn’t wait for it to dry up and go away. Then I found myself looking for the good things about the rain. I can hear you now, “What can be good about rain?”

The rain makes the colors of the forest deeper and more vibrant , the greens are greener and the blacks blacker. Rain cools the temperature and the air is sweet, you can taste the air rather than breath it. I love it when it has been a really hot day and the rain soaks the ground and steam rises from the earth like a boiling tea pot.trail steam

2. Be prepared for rain. Not being prepared can make for a miserable and even dangerous hike.

How do you prepare, you ask? Have the right cloths. Synthetics, not cotton.

The really important thing to remember here is synthetics draw moisture away from your skin and help you stay warm. Wool works too but I don’t recommend wool due to the weight and how long it takes to dry out. The old timers out there are screaming at the screen “Wool is the best!!!” I do like wool for keeping warm even when wet but the problem with wool is that it fills up with water and then it is not as effective at keeping the surface of my skin dry. This is especially true of socks. during that 18 day stretch of rain I had both wool and synthetic socks. I found that if I did not stop and wring out my socks every couple of hours my feet would get pruned and start to blister. The synthetic socks did a better job keeping my feet dry. Wool also takes a really long time to dry out.

Side Note… How to dry out your socks when it is raining day after day. Here again synthetics are the hero. I found that if I put my socks under my fleece sweater on my shoulders or if I was napping I would put them on my chest under my fleece and the synthetic socks would dry in a couple of hours. Wool socks took too long to use this method.

During warm weather I find it easier to just get wet and dry out when it stops. Cold weather on the other hand can be life threatening. The problem with hiking in the rain in cold weather is two fold. First is getting wet from the rain coming down and second is getting wet from the sweat your body produces while hiking.

Proper clothing and outerwear can help with both of these if you have the right gear and or you use it properly. I use layering to regulate my body’s temperature and sweat production. The layer right next to your skin or base layer should be a synthetic thermal underwear(during cool or cold weather). Then a fleece(synthetic) sweater over your base layer and finally your outerwear.

What is outerwear? This can be many different things. This layer could be a $500 Gore-Tex Jacket (nope, not kidding $500) or it could be a $15 nylon wind breaker. The merits of these outerwear choices can be discussed in a different post. The proper use of these jackets is important. If you are getting hot and start to sweat a lot, then you need to unzip your pit zips if your jacket has them. You may also need to vent your main front zipper to let some heat escape. Whatever the options your jacket has for venting, use them to cool it down and not sweat so much that you get soaking wet. I have been soaking wet from sweat and then when I stopped found myself freezing my butt off and getting close to hypothermia. One last tip on this subject, when you are hiking and are about to take a break from hiking or stopping for the night you will want to zip up and batten down the hatches a few minutes before you stop. If you stop then zip up you may find your self with a chill and unable to get warm.

3. Rain can equal more wildlife. The wildlife will have a more difficult time hearing you coming and you can often time see them before they hear or smell you. You will have to be paying attention as they are often not moving and you can pass right by them if you are not observant. Bonus tip: If it looks like it might be getting ready to rain but you still hear birds chirping and being active then you still have some time to get to or make shelter. If you notice a significant silence in the forest (no birds) then you know the rain is about to start. There are other tell tale signs for coming of rain like curling of tree leaves and the thickness of the air but these are not as noticeable as the birds.

4. This point is sort of subjective but it is my blog so there you go. Rain makes things interesting and is memorable.  In other word I remember the sections hike with rain more than those without. I also feel like a real adventurer during these rainy hikes. After all most people are indoors, warm and comfy. They are not outdoors daring nature to smite them with wind and water.

Well there you go, this post is a rainy day reflection of what I learned those glorious 18 rainy days on the trail.

 

 

Trucker’s hitch Music Video

Fun video!

 

Where to Go Camping Series – Buck’s Pocket State Park

Buck’s Pocket State Park

Groveoak, Alabama (256)659-2000

This park brings back memories of the fist time I went repelling and climbing. My scout troop took the older boys to Buck’s Pocket to learn this valuable skill. I had just moved up into “high adventure”, the level in which the fun, read that as dangerous fun, began. I remember getting up early and seeing the sunrise over the canyon rim and being a nervous about the activities to came that day. All went without a hitch and we all had a great time. I have been back many times since then but that first trip is the memory that sticks in my mind when I think about Buck’s Pocket.

 

Location:

Located two miles north of Grove Oak in northeast Alabama.

What to do :

Campground with water and electricity, four have sewage; complete with tables, grills, shelters, laundry, comfort station, playground.

20 miles of hiking trails.

Scenic overlooks.

Picnic area.

Fishing at Morgan’s Cove, Guntersville Lake

PointRock4 PointRock3 PhotoGallery 3 PhotoGallery 13

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