Preparation is more important than anything
Hiking in the great outdoors is one of the best things we can do to clear our mind. It provides exercise, excitement, relaxation, reflection time, and fellowship if you go with others. Whether you are preparing to climb a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado or taking an hour walk on a trail in the forest, you have to be prepared for anything that can come your way. This article will expound on some tips and helpful advice to make sure that your adventures will be highly successful and enjoyable.
Before The Hike
When you have a hike planned, you want to make sure that you prepare the night before. Make sure that 24 hours before your hike you eat a healthy meal loaded with carbs so your body is fully energized and has a lot in the tank. You also want to make sure you are fully hydrated with water and fluids. These seemingly simplistic tasks are key to having a successful hike. The difference between taking a hike fully hydrated and prepared and not is very apparent a few hours into your activities.
When packing up for a hike, make sure you have adequate water to rehydrate. Sweating and using a lot of energy will cause you to be dehydrated quickly and it will drain your energy fast. I also like to have gatorade or powerade to restore electrolytes and other nutrients that water in and of itself cannot do. This is important as water by itself won't be enough to fuel your adventure. Finally make sure you pack snacks that have a good amount of protein and carbohydrates to give you fuel and help counter weakness and muscle breakdown.
Equipment is vitally important when going on a long hike or mountain climb. A good backpack to put all your supplies in is important. Well made shoes meant for hiking that has good grip is vitally important for when going on a descent or tackling tough terrain. Other equipment that might be necessary depending on what season you're in is also important to consider. When taking on Pikes Peak in late winter for example there is a ton of snow and poles would be important to keeping the momentum going and providing much needed stability. Snow shoes are also going to be needed when walking on the snow so you don't fall in frequently. Lifting yourself out of a three foot hole each step you take will quickly tire you out and drain the energy you have left. Lifting myself up 200 times really tired me out one trip and I was wiped out before I even reached the summit.
During The Hike
When actually embarking on the trip make sure you drink a lot of water and have eaten a good meal. Always look at your next step to make sure you aren't stepping on terrain that is hazardous and slippery. When walking on hills that are slanted at a big angle you want to be sure to dig in well and watch your steps carefully. Use poles and equipment that will help you treck that terrain with no problems. Whenever you get out of breath, make sure you take a moment to breathe. If you try to rough through it and keep going, eventually you will start to get cramps and have more trouble breathing later. Make sure that you take breaks frequently to rehydrate and refuel. Don't forget this is for fun! Enjoy the scenery and take pictures on your trip as well. The exercise you get when going on hikes and mountain trails really gets you in shape so enjoy the exercise and push yourself to always reach the goal you set forth for your hike.
After The Hike
Once you finish your hike and you get home, make sure you eat a good hearty meal with carbs and protein. This will help your body refuel but also assist in muscle recovery. It's important to get proper rest. Going beyond your limits in some of my hikes caused me to be in pain for many days afterwards so I couldn't plan a new trip until I felt fully rested and recovered. If your muscles ache or burn put some ice on them and massage them so the blood can flow to them and help them recover quicker. You will find that when you take hikes frequently you can push yourself harder and go further than before. Use that as a motivator on the next adventure you set out for yourself!