What adventures do you have lined up for the spring, summer and fall hiking seasons?
It has been more than a decade since finishing the Adirondack’s 46 highest peaks and this season I [Gary] will be off the trails with 19 bushwhacks remaining to finish the Adirondack’s 100 highest mountains.
Among the things I have learned over the years that may help you on or off the trails, and in no particular order:
Stay in shape! Maintain vision for good health. We know we all are mortal, but do as much as you have some control over to remain in good condition. Have regular physicals. Watch your diet, and exercise all year round. Yes, I still do 2400 stairs almost every day and usually with my loaded day pack. I have met people in their 70’s and 80’s on many a mountain summit. And I hope one day to be among them!
Baby your feet. Get the best boots. And a high ticket price is not necessarily the sign for what is the best deal for your feet! I have enjoyed great results over the years with Vasque boots. They tend not to last as long, but have always broken in easily and remained comfortable only to be abandoned when the treads wore too thin.
Take care of your legs. Trekking poles extend the life of your legs and knees and help you maintain your balance saving you from many falls.
Dead trees and broken branches hidden by ferns and other vegetation may still grab your ankles from time to time and deposit you on the ground. Even tree roots on an open and well-marked trail, especially when wet and greasy, can easily trip you up. But poles help minimize those spills.
You’ll also help extend use of your legs and will be so glad when rock hopping to cross a stream. I have found that poles with adjusting sections that lock are best.
Avoid ticks! And speaking of safety, almost every piece of clothing I wear on hikes are treated with Insect Shield®. (1) Thousands of people contract Lyme Disease from tick bites every year, and it is a terrible disease that often goes untreated before discovered and can do terrible damage.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 300,000 people in the US are diagnosed and treated for Lyme every year. (2) I do not want to be one of them!
I wear long sleeve shirts which not only takes care of sunburn, but keeps my entire upper body protected from ticks. And I try to wear light-colored clothing making it easier to spot a tick that might be trying to attach. And while clothes treated with Insect Shield® may not help 100% of the time, it is much better than having no protection at all.
Also wear gaitors that are treated with the shielding that cover the entry into my boots and open pant legs. And I then still check my body after being outside in tick country – which is now as close as your back yard.
Inventory & Replace Necessities. Gearing up for the new hiking season it also the time to put new batteries in the headlamp and flashlight and camera with a few spares. The water filter also get a good cleaning out.
And this year I had to break down again for new boots – those Adirondack mountains both on and off trail are tough on footwear! Believe me, you want good treads every step of the way! And my light rain jacket which doubles as a wind-breaker when standing on a breezy open summit was literally, after some 15 years of use, coming apart at the seams. And so I broke down and replaced it!
Mud season will soon be over and we’ll be ready for another season of adventures in the wild.
How about you?
© 2018 Adirondack Kid Press, Ltd.