I went on some fabulous hikes last year. What a great way to be outside in the fresh air, have an adventure, be active, and socialize, all the same time. Oh and eat! The way we do it there is always food and it tastes SO good at the top of any size hill.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned from my hikes.
Dehydration is dangerous, and takes on many forms. On two separate occasions, many years apart (which is my excuse for not learning this the first time… I guess) one member of the hiking party fell apart without the rest of us noticing why. In one case, the hiker sat down with a severe headache and didn’t want to go on. We were lucky enough to be on an AMC-led hike that day and the leader pulled out his extra liter of water and had her drink up. She popped up, refreshed and fine. She had set out on a longer hike than she had in mind, hadn’t brought enough water and she hadn’t felt dehydrated but then again she wasn’t thinking clearly by then.
Flash forward a couple of decades to a longer hike with a group who had prepared all summer. It’s the way down, and one hiker can barely put one foot in front of the other. The park crew comes up to see what we are up to and gives us flashlights because we are hours later than expected and now it’s getting dark. We coax and prod and soothe our friend, but it’s a hard slog for the last two hours. Then we get to the parking lot, she guzzles some water, and she’s fine! How did we miss this? The biggest problem was that she didn’t feel thirsty – and she even had some water left for most of the time. But once dehydration set in, again, she couldn’t think straight. We all missed it, but I hope to never miss this again.
95% of hiking accident happen on the way down. This statistic comes to us from the Monadnock State Park info sheet and it also matches my personal experience. Just think about the idea of stepping up onto something steep compared to stepping down from the same height – I can just feel the difference in stability from here (and I’m sitting in a coffee shop, stepping nowhere at all.) Which brings me to the next lesson:
Hiking poles are the best invention ever. OK maybe not ever. Vaccinations are better. And the wheel is really good. But hiking poles are so great for turning us into stable three or four legged creatures and reducing the impact on our knees and other joints.
All this makes me want to pack some water, grab my poles, and do some hiking! Want to go with me?? Send me a message!