Find a Good Hiking Partner
Hiking alone is peaceful, but in certain circumstances can be dangerous. Finding the perfect hiking partner isn't hard as long as you know what you are looking for. Hiking is often times a very introspective time for many people. If you are the type you likes to hike in silence, find a hiking partner who has a similar desire. Some people would rather hike and talk about the nature surrounding you. If you want to discover more about the area you hike in, find a hiking partner who is knowledgable about local plant and animal life.
Your hiking partner does not have to be the same age or gender as you, but they should have a similar hiking pace. If you are the type who likes to quickly scale up rocky hillsides, then a slow, contemplative partner is not for you. Your hiking partner should also like to hike similar terrain. If you're hiking partner likes more long distance trails then you likely won't hike steep inclines. There is one thing that all hiking partners must be and that is prepared. Be sure you and your partner always pack the proper gear for the type of hike you are taking. A prepared hiking partner will be better suited to respond to emergency situations, and will help to make every hike you take a successful and safe experience.
You can find hiking partners by asking friends and family members to join you or you can look for Hiking Groups in your area. Before you commit to a long hiking trip with a partner, take a few day trips to see if you are compatible. When the weather is bad, you and your hiking partner can train inside at the gym or at home for your next big hiking trip. Try this No Equipment Necessary Workout to help strengthen your upper and lower body.
Long Distance Hiking
Long distance hikes range anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months and can traverse just 150 miles or over 2,000 miles. For any long distance hike, planning must be thorough in order to ensure yourself the most enjoyable and safe trip. You cannot prepare for everything, but you can certainly prepare for what you know will occur. Once you've decided to take a long distance hike, start researching trails. You can request trail maps and guides for planning. If possible, read as many books as you can about your chosen trail. The trail you choose should be one you can physically handle. It is okay to have to do some training before you start your trek, but be sure to allot yourself enough time to be in peak hiking condition.
Try to be organized about your packing. Your backpack will be like a tortoises shell. It should contain only necessities and should be easy to pack and unpack. In terms of food, try to pack lightweight, high protein and vitamin rich foods. You can make individual meals out of dehydrated foods and pack them in separate zip lock bags. You may want to consider not carrying extras like shampoo, deodorant and soap. If you do carry extra items, be sure to remove any added packaging.An extremely helpful long distance hiking tip is to mail yourself packages to different post offices along the way. Write down what each box contains and estimate how long it will take you to get from one post office to the next. Also, be sure to check with the parks departments or trail associations to see if you need a permit to camp. Lastly, for security, tell friends and family where you are going, how long you will be and possibly even give them an extra map with your planned itinerary on it.
Though many see the desert as somewhere only the brave go, deserts are actually exciting and scenic landscapes to hike. Armed with environmental knowledge and all the proper gear, hikers can take day long desert hiking trips and even long distance desert hiking/camping trips. As with any hiking trip, you should prepare yourself for the unique aspects of the particular trail you will hike.
Water, water and more water. If you are desert hiking, drinking water before, during and after your trip should be one of the things at the forefront of your mind. Dry desert air won't make you sweat but it will make you thirsty. The rule is to actually carry more water than you think you need. Deserts are arid, not because they never get rain, but because they receive an annual rainfall of less than 10 inches which evaporates quickly in the sun.
Speaking of sun - the best time to hike is near dawn and later at dusk. If you are out hiking around mid-day, choose to take a break for an hour or so under a shaded spot. Desert animals do this, so follow their lead. Be aware that temperature changes can be drastic in the desert. Though it may be 90 degrees in the morning, by nighttime, desert temperatures can drop to 40 degrees. If you are long distance desert hiking, take these temperature changes into account when you start to pack.
Lastly, it's not a bad idea to know how to spot incoming thunderstorms. While on you desert hiking trail watch for large towering clouds called cumulonimbus. If you do see such a cloud in the distance, head for higher ground to avoid flash floods that accompany thunderstorms. For additional information about desert hiking, get trail maps and guides from the state or city parks department where you plan to hike.
Gym Training for Hikers
Stair climbing is a great workout for hikers because it builds glute and thigh strength as well as cardio strength. Incorporating balance exercises is essential because you want to be prepared for any terrain that you may encounter. Try this Balance and Core Workout to get started. If you can get access to one, Bosu balls are a great tool to train with because they provide instability and challenge your balance and coordination. Stand on the blue side for less challenging stances, or stand on the blue side for advanced exercises. You can even sit on them and do core work which is essential for serious hikers. To prepare yourself for steep climbs, add one legged lunges, high steps, and lower back exercises to your workouts. You can try doing this Hamstring Workout - No Equipment Necessary. Stretch the front and backs of your hips so that you have the range of motion to scramble over big rocks and huge fallen tree trunks.