Essentials of Hiking

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Rodc
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Post by Rodc » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:10 pm

livesoft wrote:Once again, I would not spend any extra money until you are "into it." Once you are "into it", you will know what is important and what is not.

Get a camera to take pictures instead.
There is wisdom in that. You need enough to be safe. But it does not have to be top grade.

Pick any endeavor and you can find lots of people who spent big bucks for all the toys and never really use it.

Over time you will learn what is really of value to you and what is not.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

etm
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Post by etm » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:20 pm

Check to see if the Sierra Club in Colorado offers the WTC (Wilderness Travel Course). My wife and I took this in California. It's a three month course (you meet once a week for three hours) where you learn navigation, nutrition,, basic rock scrambling, how to hike, etc. You will go on various hikes, on trail and cross country, including a three day snow camp during the winter. This is not a macho, Navy Seals course but rather a way to learn how to enjoy the outdoors in all weather safely.

MWCA
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Post by MWCA » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:30 pm

When it comes to wildlife. Having a partner is a good idea. You just need to run faster than your partner.

Yuk yuk.
We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm.

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Padlin
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Post by Padlin » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:54 pm

If you're both rookies at it, I'd suggest
A lightweight small backpack, with hydration if you prefer, or go the fanny pack route. We use both depending on the expected weather and such.
Decent lightweight boots, I prefer non goretex (too hot for me), my wife likes the goretex to stay dry. You can move up to heavier backpacking ones later if you get into overnights and such.
Decent lightweight socks, 2 pair.
A few water bottles if you don't go the Camelback route, I'm cheap so it's Nalgene bottles for us.
We take along a pocket rocket, canteen cup, and instant coffee for a mid hike break.
Very lightweight rain gear is great to have too, never know when you'll get caught.
A good compass is a must as long as you have a map too, but you'll have to get the later after you pick your hiking area. I have a gps that I tried and didn't care for, eats batteries too quick. If you stay found you have no need.
Once we hit 40 we had to start using hiking poles too, the knees are pretty shot on the way down.

So rain gear, a small women's day pack, water bottles or some such, compass, boots, socks, and maybe poles would do for a start. You can add more after you see if it works out. A whistle isn't a bad idea in the stocking either.
Regards | Bob

mcblum
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re boots

Post by mcblum » Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:03 pm

BertB wrote:Here's a low-tech necessity that I always take with me...a plain black plastic Lawn N Leaf bag....to sit on when I eat or rest.

The bag weighs practically nothing and it saves me from having a wet bottom.

You mentioned sturdy boots. I would add that GoreTex lined or other waterproof boots are essential if you hike anywhere besides the desert. Wet feet ruin a hike.

BertB (Northern Minnesota)
The bag is a great idea as it has so many uses. Re the boots. Essential but be sure to buy with enough time to break in. In my early days, most boots were made of leather and needed time to soften up. Today's boots are made of composites and are faster to get used to. be sure to take a small pad of moleskin to cover "hot spots" on your feet if they develop.
A good cap is also a must. Can be just about anything.

Marty

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Bylo Selhi
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Post by Bylo Selhi » Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:56 pm

Rodc wrote:I just wind a good amount around a short piece of dowel (or similar) so it makes a small package.
A pencil or disposable pen works great, can also be used to make notes, doesn't add any weight and can usually be had for free.

fishndoc
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Post by fishndoc » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:05 pm

I do believe more "gear" has been recommended on this thread for a causal hike through the woods than Sir Edmund Hillary likely carried with him to the top of Mt Everest.

:lol:
" Successful investing involves doing just a few things right, and avoiding serious mistakes." - J. Bogle

Jack
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Re: Essentials of Hiking

Post by Jack » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:45 pm

EmergDoc wrote:1) A decent pair of hiking SHOES. Most hikers don't need boots. I don't take boots when I go to the Tetons or RMNP unless I'll have to cross more than 100 feet of snow. Boots are overkill for anyone planning to stay on trails. I do most of my trail hiking in Keen sandals. I laugh when I pass a family decked out in boots I'd take to Everest while wearing sandals and toting a kid on my back.
I also like going light. I'll use sandals on well maintained trails, but I'm not usually on well maintained trails and tiny annoying pebbles are forever getting inside sandals. So I generally use running shoes which are even lighter than most sandals. I'll even use them for multi-day hikes in rain or across snowfields. I carry a pair of Gortex sock liners. In the evening, at camp, I take off the wet shoes and socks, put on a pair of dry socks, a pair of Gortex sock liners to keep them dry and then put the wet shoes back on. Works great under most conditions and is very light and warm. I'll use ankle gaiters to keep pebbles out if on scree.

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Post by Rick_29T9W » Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:07 am

I mostly do local short to moderate length hikes here in the mountains of Northern Arizona. I don't have any experience with hiking Colorado's 14ers, or anything similar.

My narrow CamelBak pack allows enough air circulation to keep my back from getting very wet with sweat. I sometimes don't bring the pack, if it is a short enough hike to not to need to bring my lunch. But even then, I usually carry a water bottle or a bottle hanging from a strap over my shoulder instead. In the past, I used to use a fanny pack which carried water bottles on the belt. That worked well too. For overnight backpacking trips, I also have a large older style backpack, which I have had for about 20 years.

I wear a broad rimmed hat and sun screen for sun protection. During the summer, I wear a hat with an open mesh on the sides, which allows the sweat to evaporate. A handkerchief, comes in handy if I start to get sweat in my eyes.

About 10 years ago, on an overnight trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, I wore those special hiking pants with zip off legs. The change in altitude creates a surprising difference in temperature between the bottom of the canyon and the rim. I wanted to be able to adjust to the changing temperatures, while avoiding the weight of extra clothes.

On an extra cold windy winter day, I occasionally wear flannel or fleece lined pants and/or long johns to stay warm and comfortable. I occasionally also wear a hat with fold down ear flaps and gloves. Even here in Arizona, it can sometimes get fairly cold at higher elevations.

During the summer time, I have frequently had a clear sky when starting my hike, but have then later found myself in a hard afternoon thunderstorm. I like to bring along a small rain poncho or rain coat, during the summer.

A local ranger station will usually have some free 8 1/2 x 11 inch, letter sized, maps of each individual Forest Service trail. Another alternative would be to buy a good map, or to print out your own custom letter sized map from the TOPO Colorado software (I have the TOPO Arizona software).

If the trail is not very well marked, pay attention and make a mental note of some of the nearby land marks. That way you will be able to roughly retrace your steps if you accidentally get off of the trial. Occasionally, a poorly maintained trail will start splitting in various unmarked directions, making it easy to loose the trail. A map and compass and/or a GPS might be nice if you are on a long trail that is not well marked and not heavily used.

Having a small LED flashlight could help you find your way, if you fail to get back before dark. As it cools off after dark, I could put on one of those supper small jackets that come in a small stuff bag. In colder weather, I would bring a heavier jacket. I doubt that a heavier jacket would fit into my small CamelBak pack. I would be nice if I also had a slightly larger day pack, just for occasional hikes when carrying (but not always wearing) a larger jacket and/or possibly bulkier rain gear, plus my lunch and water too. A space blanket would would take up very little space in my small pack.

A small mirror or a whistle could be used to attract attention, if you are lost or have a broken leg, where there is no cellphone coverage. I sometimes bring along a couple of small individually packaged throw away disinfectant paper towels for cleaning my hands after using the pit toilet, at the trail head. There usually is no water there. Massage oil and a massage for your wife's sore muscles, might be appropriate after you get home.

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Marmot
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Hiking Items

Post by Marmot » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:45 am

local trail books
Colorado= wind/ rain gear. Environment changes in minutes.
Want to have some fun, google "Steep and Cheap". Fun website selling heavily discounted items
Hat - check out Coolibar on line
Day pack - Osprey
national park pass perhaps
Google Railriders - toughest outdoor clothes on planet
Camelbak water bottle
Do check out REI outlet on website.
Contenential Divide Trail Colorado (CDT) Guide Book REI

neverknow
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Post by neverknow » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:19 am

..
Last edited by neverknow on Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gatorman
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Post by gatorman » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:02 am

space blanket
led flashlight or strap on headlight
cable saw
good sheath knife
pistol (depending on where you are going) & holster
leatherman tool
disposable lighter
cotton balls soaked in vaseline
magnifying glass or loupe
compact binoculars or monocular
waterproof matches
50' zip cord
10' heavy steel wire
snare wire
fishing line & hooks
first aid kit
electrical tape
compass
gps and extra batteries
map
water
purification pills or filter
energy bars or gorp
rain gear
old hand towel
hat (mine has a flap that fods down to protect my neck from the sun)
sunglasses
signal mirror
2- 1 gal plastic bags
tp
clothing appropriate for 5 day forecast in area you will be in.
polypropylene clothing will stay warm(er) if wet.
boots
spare socks
note pad pencil or pen
pack most everything in zip lock bags.
It is a lot to carry, but my theory was always to be prepared to overnight or longer because of an emergency.
Always let someone know where you are going, when you expect to be back and what to do if you don't show up.
Plan for the worst, it probably won't happen, but if it does, you'll be glad you prepared.
Have fun, carefully.
gatorman

tibbitts
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Post by tibbitts » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:30 pm

Never happened. Not even once.

I used to get lost on 2-3mi trails pretty frequently.
Like Rodc doesn't need a really loud air horn to tell the animals he's there -- because his noisy children do that for him ... I always hike with a dog, and I trust the dogs nose, every time. Only once did I think I knew better (many decades ago, when I was young and dumb), and I was very wrong. A dogs nose is a wonderful thing.
The dog's nose may take her where she wants to go - but how do you get that nose to take you where you want to go? Left to their own devices, my experience has been that dogs may go away for weeks or even months at a time.

Paul

hsv_climber
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Post by hsv_climber » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:46 pm

gatorman wrote:space blanket
led flashlight or strap on headlight
cable saw
good sheath knife
pistol (depending on where you are going) & holster
leatherman tool
disposable lighter
cotton balls soaked in vaseline
magnifying glass or loupe
compact binoculars or monocular
waterproof matches
50' zip cord
10' heavy steel wire
snare wire
fishing line & hooks
first aid kit
electrical tape
compass
gps and extra batteries
map
water
purification pills or filter
energy bars or gorp
rain gear
old hand towel
hat (mine has a flap that fods down to protect my neck from the sun)
sunglasses
signal mirror
2- 1 gal plastic bags
tp
clothing appropriate for 5 day forecast in area you will be in.
polypropylene clothing will stay warm(er) if wet.
boots
spare socks
note pad pencil or pen
pack most everything in zip lock bags.
+ Mule to carry all that...

neverknow
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Post by neverknow » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:52 pm

..
Last edited by neverknow on Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rodc
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Post by Rodc » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:39 pm

fishndoc wrote:I do believe more "gear" has been recommended on this thread for a causal hike through the woods than Sir Edmund Hillary likely carried with him to the top of Mt Everest.

:lol:
That reminds me, bottled oxygen! :)

FWIW: I once got lost in the San Juan's for two days, turning a 6 day backback into a mild adventure that lasted 7 days, due to a side trip off the main trail, and hooked up with a elk trail not a hiking trail. Fortunately I had 8 days of food, and if you follow any stream down hill far enough you will hit a road. :)
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

livesoft
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Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:53 pm

Some of my best hiking adventures have been when somebody got lost.

We were lost in the backcountry of the Gila National Forest for more than a week. We just didn't care because we were not out for an afternoon hike --- we were out for 10 days. We knew we would eventually figure out where we were. When the trail is under 10 feet of snow, it sort of doesn't matter anyways.

My then-11-year-old got lost in the desert of Big Bend National Park. He eventually showed up an hour later after following a dry creek rather than the trail. It was quite the learning experience for him. He still talks about that to this day and sticks closer to others when hiking now as well. That same week, they found the bones of a hiker who had gone missing 12 months before.

OTOH, we hiked on a trail in Colorado that was marked by death of a young child. The trail followed a large creek that the toddler probably fell into when out of sight. His body has not been found yet.

And once again: Forget about waterproof matches. What's up with that? A simple disposable lighter works even after swimming with it. If you are using it in the winter, you just need to warm it up in your arm pit.

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magellan
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Post by magellan » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:16 pm

livesoft wrote:And once again: Forget about waterproof matches. What's up with that? A simple disposable lighter works even after swimming with it. If you are using it in the winter, you just need to warm it up in your arm pit.
You're probably right that the lighter is fine, but old habits die hard and I've carried waterproof matches in my pack since my old boyscout days. They live in a small waterproof container with a couple of those trick birthday candles.

Even though disposable lighters are pretty rugged, they do break. In many survival situations, the ability to make a fire can mean the difference between life and death. The best answer is probably to pack both. If you're on an overnight trip, you can use the lighter for normal stuff, but if it breaks you've got a backup that weighs almost nothing.

Jim

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http://www.whiteblaze.net/

Post by rocket » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:27 pm

you are asking the wrong people. Look at WhiteBlaze.net.
That is a site for backpackers. I am a backpacker. WhiteBlaze is the marker for the Appalachian Trail. Serious on backpackers are on the WhiteBlaze forum.


http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/forumdi ... 9feb&f=414

http://www.whiteblaze.net/

hsv_climber
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Post by hsv_climber » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:28 pm

magellan wrote: Even though disposable lighters are pretty rugged, they do break. In many survival situations, the ability to make a fire can mean the difference between life and death. The best answer is probably to pack both. If you're on an overnight trip, you can use the lighter for normal stuff, but if it breaks you've got a backup that weighs almost nothing.
Jim
When we've climbed Liberty Ridge on Mt. Rainer, we did not have a working lighter or matches. So, we lighted the gas stove with a spark from a broken (or without a gas, don't remember) lighter. Not a big deal.

hsv_climber
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Re: http://www.whiteblaze.net/

Post by hsv_climber » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:32 pm

rocket wrote:you are asking the wrong people. Look at WhiteBlaze.net.
That is a site for backpackers. I am a backpacker. WhiteBlaze is the marker for the Appalachian Trail. Serious on backpackers are on the WhiteBlaze forum.
Sure, lets wait for EmergDoc to chime in on how to climb Diamond. Then we will get serious. :wink:

hsv_climber
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Re: http://www.whiteblaze.net/

Post by hsv_climber » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:34 pm

rocket wrote:I am a backpacker.
If you don't mind me asking, what are your favorite trails / backpacking trips around Huntsville?

RobG
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Post by RobG » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:46 pm

hsv_climber wrote:
magellan wrote: Even though disposable lighters are pretty rugged, they do break. In many survival situations, the ability to make a fire can mean the difference between life and death. The best answer is probably to pack both. If you're on an overnight trip, you can use the lighter for normal stuff, but if it breaks you've got a backup that weighs almost nothing.
Jim
When we've climbed Liberty Ridge on Mt. Rainer, we did not have a working lighter or matches. So, we lighted the gas stove with a spark from a broken (or without a gas, don't remember) lighter. Not a big deal.
lighters and matches are pretty unreliable... a cheap lighter won't work after a swim around here so I don't know where livesoft lives ;). If it is cold, wet, rainy, and you have no gas, it can be tough. Consider one of these and a few cottonballs smothered in vaseline at a minimum:
Image

click here



And for little dayhikes bring a few treats for the kindergartners on top. :lol:

rg

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Post by K'zoo » Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:10 pm

1. Good hiking boots or hiking shoes. If you're hiking on trails with stones or gravel, you'll want a substantial sole on the shoe/boot to keep the soles of your feet from getting sore.

2. A hiking stick. I don't take one every time, but they are good for assistance on uneven trails, for crossing streams, and as a support to help you get back to your car if you hurt yourself (e.g. sprain an ankle, throw out a knee).

3. GPS. Trail maps differ in quality. A map and a GPS is best.

4. Water. More in hot weather or when it is a strenuous hike.

5. A snack if you'll be hiking for more than a couple of hours. I take nuts and dried apples in a zip lock bag. They're light, tasty, and energy dense.

6. Recommend hiking pants with the zip off legs (converts them into shorts). The important thing is that they have a lot of pockets for miscellaneous stuff, like a loupe if you're into looking at plants, for bandages, tissues, a small knife, etc.

7. A nice-to-have in the entertainment category: a good pair of binoculars AND a harness to hook them onto. Harnesses are great; comfortable, hands are free, and they're always right where you need them when you want them. The harness I use is made by OP/TECH USA. Love it.

livesoft
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Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:24 pm

RobG wrote:lighters and matches are pretty unreliable... a cheap lighter won't work after a swim around here so I don't know where livesoft lives ;). If it is cold, wet, rainy, and you have no gas, it can be tough.
...
And for little dayhikes bring a few treats for the kindergartners on top. :lol:

rg
Since I don't smoke, I find most of my lighters when I go beachcombing. Take two or three lighters for redundancy. Or ask a 5-year old on the mountain top for one.

I imagine that some folks' waterproof matches are about as reliable as one of their old unused condoms that they still have from 1978.

RobG
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Post by RobG » Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:44 pm

livesoft wrote:
RobG wrote:lighters and matches are pretty unreliable... a cheap lighter won't work after a swim around here so I don't know where livesoft lives ;). If it is cold, wet, rainy, and you have no gas, it can be tough.
...
And for little dayhikes bring a few treats for the kindergartners on top. :lol:

rg
Since I don't smoke, I find most of my lighters when I go beachcombing. Take two or three lighters for redundancy. Or ask a 5-year old on the mountain top for one.

I imagine that some folks' waterproof matches are about as reliable as one of their old unused condoms that they still have from 1978.
where do you think they store their used lighters?

hsv_climber
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Post by hsv_climber » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:01 pm

I have a few questions:

- Why would someone store condoms from 1978?

- How can you get lost in Big Bend National Park? I took my family there 2 months ago (early Oct.). We hiked to South Rim as well as a few other trails. Big Bend trails are extremely well marked.

- How to light waterproof matches bought in Wal Mart? I've made a mistake once (years ago) of buying waterproof matches there. They did not come with the manual and I had no clue how to light them reliably. I think in addition to being waterproof, they've been developed fire proof as well.

(cheap lighters are definitely the way to go. And they are literally a dime / a dozen. Also in Wal Mart).

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Post by The Wizard » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:11 pm

I know too much about hiking to be of much help to the beginner.
I just did my 4th Grand Canyon rim-river day hike a few days ago, using New Balance trail shoes; lighter shoes/boots the better.
First GC hike was in 1968, so it's been a few years...

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Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:45 pm

hsv_climber wrote:- How can you get lost in Big Bend National Park? I took my family there 2 months ago (early Oct.). We hiked to South Rim as well as a few other trails. Big Bend trails are extremely well marked.
Major trails in the Chisos Basin are well-marked and well-traveled. Ever hike the Dodson Trail? I've done it a few times and have never taken the same route twice. Other trails are not used so much, such as the trail from near the Sam Nail Ranch to below The Window. :)

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Post by hsv_climber » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:21 pm

livesoft wrote: Major trails in the Chisos Basin are well-marked and well-traveled. Ever hike the Dodson Trail? I've done it a few times and have never taken the same route twice. Other trails are not used so much, such as the trail from near the Sam Nail Ranch to below The Window. :)
We've hiked to the upper part of The Window (i.e. fairly easy The Window trail). Great View. It was too hot on the desert floor for hiking. We've just walked around the Sam Nail Ranch.

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KarlJ
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Post by KarlJ » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:19 am

The Wizard wrote:I know too much about hiking to be of much help to the beginner.
I just did my 4th Grand Canyon rim-river day hike a few days ago, using New Balance trail shoes; lighter shoes/boots the better.
First GC hike was in 1968, so it's been a few years...
A few years back I day hiked the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for about 6 miles during a period of moderate heat and found it nearly too much for me despite water being available at the 1.5 and 3.0 mile posts. What are the minimum “qualifications” for doing a rim–river day hike?

I routinely hike 8 miles twice a week in mountainous terrain for exercise. Vibram sole hiking boots are best IMO as I still have a serviceable pair that are decades old.

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Post by Jack » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:46 am

KarlJ wrote:A few years back I day hiked the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for about 6 miles during a period of moderate heat and found it nearly too much for me despite water being available at the 1.5 and 3.0 mile posts. What are the minimum “qualifications” for doing a rim–river day hike?

I routinely hike 8 miles twice a week in mountainous terrain for exercise. Vibram sole hiking boots are best IMO as I still have a serviceable pair that are decades old.
Well, the sensible thing for anyone is to avoid the heat. It just doesn't make sense to do something like that at 110 degrees. When we have people on split river trips in which some people hike out from Phantom Ranch on the river, they begin their climb at midnight using headlamps to avoid the heat. Unfortunately you can't see much scenery in the dark so the other solution is to choose a cooler season for your hike. It sounds like you are in fine condition, but conditioning won't allow you to beat the heat. You have to work around it.

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magellan
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Post by magellan » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:12 pm

KarlJ wrote:What are the minimum “qualifications” for doing a rim–river day hike?
I found that the trip down into the canyon was mostly about endurance. It took me around 8 hours to get to the river (lots of photo stops). You're exposed the whole way and it gets HOTTER the deeper into the canyon you get. Also, the long time on your feet, plus the constant downhill can be pretty tough on the joints.

Surprisingly, the hike up the next day was much easier. We left before dawn when it was 50 degrees and we were done in under 6 hours. We were out before the real heat built up in the canyon.

Also, before our big hike, we allowed a few days to recover from jet lag and acclimate to the elevation. IMO, that alone can make a big difference. I did a small day hike when we arrived that sort of kicked my but. Three days later I did an almost identical hike and it was a breeze.

Jim

patdoc98
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Post by patdoc98 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:17 pm

These lists seem crazy to me.

The great thing about day hiking is, you barely need anything. You just get out and go.

When I climbed Mt. Fuji with a friend, I wore sneakers, jeans, and three layers of shirts. I brought a backpack with bottled water, some energy bars, gloves, a flashlight, and a camera.

We were fine, it was awesome.

I've done very long day hikes - e.g., Grand Canyon down and up in a day, plus some hiking around the bottom, for 17 miles total; some long hikes in Yosemite and Yellowstone - with essentially the same stuff as for Mt. Fuji.

Never had any particular problems. Depending on weather, maybe you want to bring a hat or sunscreen or warmer clothes, etc. But it's all pretty much common sense, isn't it?

Not sure why you'd need REI, unless you're doing overnight trips, rock climbing, etc.

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ryuns
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Post by ryuns » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:54 pm

fishndoc wrote:I do believe more "gear" has been recommended on this thread for a causal hike through the woods than Sir Edmund Hillary likely carried with him to the top of Mt Everest.

:lol:
Are you saying there's something wrong with my gear?

--Bad Santa

(C'mon it's a Christmas movie...)
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

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steve roy
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Post by steve roy » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:26 pm

I did a lot of hiking in the Sierras in my long-ago youth, and (as I have told others), I think it's really unwise to hike alone.

bartbill
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Post by bartbill » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:46 pm

neverknow wrote:
RobG wrote: Advil

rg
I was going to mention this. Some kind of pain medication. It's for assisting yourself, should something hurt -- really big time.

Maybe a doc knows the answer on this one ... but when my ankle broke, the first thing I thought was - I needed to get to my feet, and walk out of there, before I couldn't. Perhaps, an old wives tale? Perhaps the way adrenaline works? I did walk out, but I wasn't walking at all, 12 hours later.

Longs Peak is all "stormed in" at the present moment (I can see it out my living room window). Getting to Chasm Lake is easy enough. I've not been to the very tip top of any 14teener. I lack the personal drive over "listening to my body scream".

If it's a big deal in your social group to claim "I climbed such and such" do so, but the 14teeners are getting awfully crowded - for my taste. There is a lot of very good hiking south of RMNP toward Ward / Nedarland.

There are no snakes above 8,000 feet in Colorado -- otherwise, I also carry a snake bite kit ... particulary for all the wonderful hiking in the Utah canyonlands.
neverknow


I too can see Long's Peak from my place. But today the cloud bank suggest winds down below.

neverknow
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Post by neverknow » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:03 pm

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Last edited by neverknow on Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rick_29T9W
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Post by Rick_29T9W » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:42 pm

About 10 years ago, I spent two nights at the Phantom Ranch Lodge after walking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. There is also a Phantom Ranch Campground. For several months ahead of the trip, I walked every day and also did a longer uphill hike each weekend with major elevation change. Even so, I discovered that I was just barely (or not quite) in good enough shape. It was a long difficult climb back from the bottom of the canyon. I was about 46 years old at the time.

When starting up the Bright Angel trail from Phantom Ranch and going towards the south rim, the trail goes uphill for what seems like a couple of thousand feet, and then it drops back down to the river again. Then after that workout, you finally get to start the long tiring climb back to the rim. There is about a mile of elevation change, not counting that extra seemingly unnecessary first climb.

I was quite tired by the time I got to the Indian Gardens Campground half way to the top, and would have liked to have just stopped and just spent the night there. But I did not have a permit for spending the night there, so I reluctantly had to continue on towards the top. I eventually got to the top, but my legs were very sore for several days afterwards.

I packed lighter than I ever had for any other backpacking trip, but as soon as I added water for going down to the bottom on theSouth Kaibab trail, my backpack became surprisingly heavy. At least there was water available at the bottom and also at Indian Gardens (and possibly also where KarlJ mentioned). In other parts of Arizona, about half of my overnight backpacking trips have been to places where there is not any water. On those trips, I usually had to carry two days worth of water, which always made my pack quite heavy, although I was always comfortable carrying that extra weight on ordinary easier trips. But when returning by way of the Bright Angel trail, the availability of water at Indian Gardens for most of the year, did make it possible to have a relatively light backpack on the way back up.

I had to make the reservations for the Phantom Ranch Lodge, two years in advance. On another trip, where I stayed at the Indian Gardens Campground, I made that reservation about 4 months in advance. Now that I am 56 years old, on future trips, I will probably just settle for going to somewhere like the Indian Gardens Campground, and not go all the way to the bottom. As Magellan mentioned, it is much hotter at the bottom of the Grand Canyon than at the rim. That makes it more difficult to decide what clothes to bring.

I know of a girl who, decades ago, actually carried a heavy cast iron frying pan in her pack to the bottom the the Grand Canyon and back.
Last edited by Rick_29T9W on Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

neverknow
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Post by neverknow » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:28 pm

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KarlJ
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Post by KarlJ » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:25 pm

Rick_29T9W wrote:...Now that I am 56 years old, on future trips, I will probably just settle for going to somewhere like the Indian Gardens Campground, and not go all the way to the bottom.
This is very helpful detailed information for someone older planning a future Grand Canyon hike, thanks for sharing.

musbane
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Post by musbane » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:26 pm

Lots of good advice here. I'll just add this. A hat. A good hat with a brim.
I've been caught out in Colorado hiking above timberline with no hat in July. Thunderstorms can form quickly. This one had marble size hail. You wouldn't believe what that feels like when it hits your cold ears.
Also, may have been mentioned, but don't forget a good knife. Swiss army knife would be fine. She'll likely start keeping it in her purse. My wife does now. I got her one with a corkscrew and that has been a real life saver several times. :)

The Wizard
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Post by The Wizard » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:48 pm

KarlJ wrote:
The Wizard wrote:I know too much about hiking to be of much help to the beginner.
I just did my 4th Grand Canyon rim-river day hike a few days ago, using New Balance trail shoes; lighter shoes/boots the better.
First GC hike was in 1968, so it's been a few years...
A few years back I day hiked the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for about 6 miles during a period of moderate heat and found it nearly too much for me despite water being available at the 1.5 and 3.0 mile posts. What are the minimum “qualifications” for doing a rim–river day hike?

I routinely hike 8 miles twice a week in mountainous terrain for exercise. Vibram sole hiking boots are best IMO as I still have a serviceable pair that are decades old.
Bright Angel trail is what I just did on 12/9, just over 15 miles RT.
Lots of Park Service signs there to discourage rim-river day trippers, but a lot of that is with respect to warm/hot weather.
I left the rim at 7:40 AM and got back at 3:25 PM, getting down to the river at around 10:50 AM.
It was around freezing at the rim when I left, but I wore my hiking shorts along with my fleece jacket and hat.
Water at 1.5 and 3.0 mile points is off for the winter, but Indian Gardens water at the 4.5 mile points is just fine.
Temp was in low 40's at Indian Gardens, so I wasn't breaking much of a sweat even though it was a nice sunny day.
It's about a 4300 foot climb from river back to rim, so you have to know your ability in that department. My R knee was a bit contrary during the latter part of this hike so gulped down a number of pain-killing pills and used my L leg for more than 50% of the uphill workload.

So I would say that most folks who have hiked even an easy Colorado 14'er, like Quandary or Lincoln, would be able to do the Bright Angel rim-river hike in cool weather w/o much problem...

meg514
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Post by meg514 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:51 pm

Didn't see this mentioned but a great gift would be a nice merino baselayer. Like an Icebreaker or Smartwool top.

Other than that for day hikes I bring a couple Clif bars, a camelback, sunscreen, bug spray and I put a bell or a couple jangly carabiners on my pack if I'm somewhere with bears.

I hike mostly in trail runners or hiking shoes.

reisner
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Knife?

Post by reisner » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:09 pm

I don't go anywhere except on an airplane without a good knife in my pocket. Not a Swiss Army, but a carbon steel 3" drop point folder as sharp as I can get it. Try Boker, Benchmade, German Eye, all available at the Knife Center of the Internet. If you want a good cheap sheath knife, Frost's of Sweden makes a 4" for about $12.

bartbill
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Post by bartbill » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:19 am

Took my son and his buddy down in the Canyon spring break of his senior year in March of 1994. Lots of memories. Three months later he went off to the Army.

Alf 101
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Post by Alf 101 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:47 pm

I suppose I'll chime in. Having worked as a alpine climbing guide for a good chunk of my early years, I obsess over gear and may have close to all of it. Yet for day hikes, particularly those not too far from home, I prefer a minimalist approach (e.g., I'll wear running shoes).

It may be a little late to go gift shopping at this stage, but instead of everything you need, my thought is to go with a few things that provide a nice foundation to any hike or expedition you go on:

1. A day pack would be a nice start, and maybe something around 3000 sq. in. This may be a little larger than you need starting out, but if you plan on hiking in cooler weather, or snowshoeing, that extra space will come in handy. If you want to surprise her you'll have to be clever about making sure you get the right fit -- generally you measure from the top of the illiac crest to the base of your neck (C7). For brands I like Gregory, though there are many roads to Dublin.

2. A multi-tool or Leatherman is also a very useful thing. I'd get the lightest full sized one you can find that has scissors -- cutting moleskin is awkward with a blade.

3. Rain gear is also an important thing, and something you can spend an ungodly amount on. Go simple -- something like the Marmot Precip is a good place to start. Some lightweight modern long underwear, you can go with the REI or EMS house brand, would also see much use.

4. In Colorado in the summer, you learn to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms with an early start. Having a very lightweight headlamp becomes useful, both for the pre-dawn starts or the late returns. Petzl, I know, has a number of these.

A lot of it depends on how ambitious you are and how far you want to go with it. Certainly there is no shortage to the gear you can buy, but as you get more into it what you really need becomes that much more apparent. Know that Colorado has a great hiking community -- no doubt you can meet people, join groups, and find quality instruction if you find it's something you really enjoy.

Finally, one of the nice ways to get people into hiking and keep it fun is to emphasize the picnic aspect of it. On a chilly morning, having a 1 liter vacuum thermos is excellent for morale. Early on I bought my then-girlfriend (now fiancee) a small hiking kite, and we'd hike up somewhere high and open to fly it. I also have brought a lightweight pot and canister stove and made soup. I recommend giving some thought to this kind of approach.

Where in Colorado are you moving (Front Range)? And do you have initial ambitions beyond the good local hikes? This could help us all to better focus our advice.

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