I love spring in that winter has finally ended, its warm enough you can head outdoors on most days and the hint of summer is in the air. Unfortunately spring also brings about endless days of rain (for the love of GOD can we have some sunshine) and that dirty, not yet new freshness prior to everything blooming! Also, depending on your goals, you can be limited in what activities you can accomplish this time of year.
This summer Q and I have a trip planned that will have us hiking 7km into a remote location, through bush and wilderness and after an hour or two of visiting, hiking back out. Who knows if we are physically capable of walking 14km in one day without a test run, right? I’d rather find out in the comforts of civilization where I can hail a cab or an ambulance if I’m just not built for long distance outings. So this past weekend we planned a mock hike to gauge our ability.
Here are six tips to keep in mind while “training” for the big day:
- Wear appropriate clothing for the environment and season, anticipate the weather you will likely encounter on the planned trip date. Dress in layered clothing, with material that can absorb/wick moisture and also repel it. The humidity of a July day can get you really sweating and it can also pore rain so accommodate for both. Also consider other apparel you may need such as hats, sun glasses and or bug nets.
- Pack up your gear! Yes, the gear you are going to be taking on the actual hike. No use finding out when you’re 7 km in the bush, 50 km from civilization that you have to leave your gear behind in order to be able to make it back out of the woods – yikes! Q and I packed both backpacks and loaded them with food, water, extra clothing, camera equipment etc. At 10 and 20 lb. respectively, these are no insignificant additions! You want to make sure you can carry them the entire way!
- Take enough food and water for your journey. I know, I already said pack your gear and food and water was on the list. But this is about quantity. Walking great distances requires regular refuelling, stopping occasionally to have a snack if needed but more importantly to hydrate. Make sure to bring enough water!
- Bring a first aid kit with you. I’m sure I get this from my mother because she is a doom sayer, but you really do need to be prepared! Any prior illness or injury may get aggravated during a hike of this length – from hemorrhoids to bad backs, plan accordingly. That old high school knee injury may come back to haunt you so prepare the best you can – bring a knee brace. Clip your toenails prior to the walk if you are prone to ingrown nails. Sometimes we cannot anticipate what may “pop” up (think blister). A first aid kit will hopefully help get you out of the bush!
- Plan a route that will mimic your actual hike! Our route consisted of walking up and down hills, this way and that way. Not all sidewalk walking either. Walking in soft ground can be more tiring so pick terrain close to your actual hike.
- When you train for long distance hikes you learn quickly what items you don’t want to be caught miles from civilization without. Write them down so you don’t forget – these are likely items you haven’t thought about or wouldn’t consider without this training.
That’s it – 6 tips for training for the “big” hike! Oh and not only did we make it the 14 km during our training, but overshot our goal by 2 km for a total of 16.
Now get outside and enjoy yourself!
Does training make sense to you? What else do you do to prepare for long distance hiking?
~True North Nomad