“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks” – John Muir
Tuesday, November 17, 2020, is National Take a Hike Day. This annual event is a great way to get a jumpstart on your New Year’s health resolutions, connect with friends and family for a great socially distanced activity, or just practice introspection on a solo walk.
Since the 1800s, hiking has increased in popularity as a peaceful activity away from work and industrial cities. Probably as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and inspired by the writings of John Muir, Walden, and Thoreau. In the 1930s, federal programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built extensive trails all over the country that continue to be the foundation of the trail system we all love and enjoy today.
If you are just getting started or trying to decide if hiking as a hobby is something you want to invest your time and resources in, take your time. Hiking gear can be expensive so make sure to check your local Goodwill stores as well as the online store to find the necessary apparel and gear on a budget. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Lace up: The right hiking boots may be the most important investment you make. Along with hiking socks. If your feet swell with exercise, consider sizing up. Remember that scene from the movie ‘Wild’ when Reese Witherspoon throws away her single brown hiking shoe with bright red laces after she gets painful blisters? Your shoes should offer traction on both wet and dry surfaces and provide the necessary support on unknown and uneven terrains. This step is critical for you to start enjoying your hiking adventures.
Tree cheers for great attire: Ever heard the phrase there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing? This is probably most true when considering hiking apparel. No jeans, cotton tees, or yoga pants. Look for polyester, merino, or nylon with moisture-wicking abilities so it works with your other clothes as well. Don’t forget a brimmed hat to protect you from sun and rain and a polyester fleece or puffy jacket if hiking in colder conditions. It is also good to invest in a good rain jacket that is both waterproof and breathable so you don’t feel uncomfortable when sweating during the hike. Building a hiking wardrobe may take you time (and money) but it is well worth the effort. And as always, don’t forget to buy secondhand first. It is good for the planet and your wallet.
Food (and water) for thought: There is no right or wrong answer for how much you should eat or drink on hikes as it will depend on your individual needs and fitness levels, but a good rule of thumb is to eat 200-300 calories every hour and drink about a half-liter of water. Don’t forget to check your local Goodwill for both water bottles as well as hydration packs. You never know what you may find!
Walk on the wild side: Now that you are all geared and stocked up, it is time to hit the trails. Check out alltrails.com, americanhiking.org, or just Google “hiking near me.” In the Bay Area, especially, hiking is an integral part of the cultural lingo so grab a friend and hit the trails this National Take a Hike Day. And don’t forget to tag us on any nifty gear you find in our stores or online so we can share your adventures on our social channels.
References: nps.gov, nationaltoday.com, and rei.com
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