The crisp, fall air is starting to creep in. Can you feel it? Not yet… yeah, us either. But whether we like it or not, Labor Day is next weekend and Summer will “officially” be over. In the spirit of a #MIOLAmazing Summer, we are sending off Summer with style.
Like hiking up White Mountain, a 14,000 footer. Our Brand Ambassador Ashley B. (@ayeboulet) celebrated her birthday with this challenging hike. Given Ashley’s love and knowledge of hiking, she gave us some tips on how to #hikelikeagirl – what to bring, how to prepare and how to celebrate afterwards!
Exploring unchartered terrain appeals to many adventurous spirits, however knowing how to do it properly is important. Being a mountain girl, means being prepared like one. With the Sierra Nevada Mountains in my backyard, I am blessed to have endless opportunities to explore and adventure. I believe that hiking is physical endurance, mental stamina, oneness with nature, and beauty only seen by those willing to challenge themselves. That being said, hiking is most enjoyed by those well equipped for the challenge.
Before a hike:
DO YOUR RESEARCH! Knowing your trails are of the upmost importance. You should research permit use, fires, trail distance, and camping. Most of all you must know the water sources in the area. Some hikes have water sources in which you can filter and treat the water for drinking use, just as many trails do not. Make sure you know what to expect on the trail before attempting yourself. There are many magazines, online articles, and reviews to access at your convenience.
When to hike:
Time is of the essence! Time of year is important to consider when wanting to hike in higher elevations. Weather can dramatically change and be somewhat unpredictable in higher elevations, so being well prepared is crucial. Many parks and forests are closed during certain times of the year, so be sure to check openings and closures before planning any hike.
Take your time! No one knows your limit as well as you do. Be mindful of yourself while hiking and do not overexert yourself. Start hiking early. Experienced hiker, climber, backpacker, or not, always consider that you may encounter unforeseen obstacles when in the mountains. So always plan accordingly with your time. You certainly don’t want to get to the summit with no time to enjoy or even worse not make it by nightfall!
Acclimate when possible! Depending on the hike, or where you are traveling from, you may want to acclimate before embarking on any strenuous hike. Acclimating requires becoming accustomed to a new climate or to new conditions.
Once research and course of action is planned, packing your backpack will be the next challenge. Try to avoid carrying too much unnecessary weight. Plan ahead of time whether you will be doing a day hike or overnight mission.
Tips on gear selection:
Don’t be cheap when it comes to comfort! You may not need top of the line gear for your adventures, but by no means shop cheaply. Hiking shoes and a good backpack are well worth the investment.
What to pack:
What you decide to pack generally will depend on the distance, terrain, and duration of your hike. However, there are some key items I am almost always sure to bring when hiking or backpacking.
Mole Skin– While hiking there is a good chance you may get blisters; mole skin will allow you to keep going without the pain and discomfort. Happy feet make for a happy hiker!
Water Purifier– If the hike has water sources, a water purifier will help limit the amount of water weight you will have to carry. Just be sure to completely treat all water sources mindfully.
Hiking boots– Different than tennis shoes! These boots are intended for extreme weather and terrain.
Hiking socks- Just like hiking boots, hiking socks are meant for hiking. To avoid blisters, and other discomfort invest in a good pair of hiking socks.
Comfortable/light weight clothing– Hiking is not a fashion statement, so dress in attire that is comfortable. Bring a sweater/light jacket for higher elevations where temperatures are likely to be cooler.
Beacon– (depending on hike)
Pocket knife/camp utensil- Always useful!
Sunscreen– It is important that you protect your skin in all elevations!
Hat/sunglasses– Protect your eyes and face while hiking.
Headlamp- In case darkness creeps up on you, have a way to illuminate yourself and the trail.
Zip ties/carabineers/duct tape– Useful for attachment and unforeseen repairs.
First aid kit/supplies– You never know what you may need out there, so having supplies is crucial in case of an injury.
Protein bars/dry nutrition bars– When hiking you are burning energy and your body needs fuel to keep going. Most grocery stores sell granola and protein bars. Be sure to read the label.
WATER! Of all the items listed above, water is arguably the most important. Bring more water than you need if you don’t plan on purifying. Running out of water on a trail can be seriously dangerous. Plan ahead, for a strenuous day hike plan to bring at least a gallon of water per person.
Emergency water tablets– Sometimes the unexpected happens and you need water and don’t have a clean source. Emergency tablets are generally affordable and can help treat various water sources.
During a hike
Be sure to stretch before starting any hike. Also, be sure to eat a healthy breakfast consisting of clean foods. Throughout the hike be sure to drink plenty of water. If you are feeling headaches or muscle soreness be sure to drink water and eat something. Altitude sickness, muscle soreness, dehydration, and heat stroke can all be avoided to a certain degree. Throughout the hike be sure to take breaks. Stretching throughout a hike is a great idea if you are suffering from a previous injury. Also, don’t be a hurry to get to your destination. Allow yourself enough time so that you can take in the scenery and enjoy the sights. Once at the summit or destination, take a moment to acknowledge your journey there. Celebrate your accomplishment!
After a hike
Relax! Stretch and continue to drink water. Eat a meal of substance, but avoid greasy food if possible. Stay hydrated and eat carbohydrates and protein after the hike. If you feel soreness the next day, you may want to try ice or heat therapy. Rest after the hike, but don’t become immobile.