Sunday, January 11, 2015
The Importance of Hiking Smart
Anyway, today's hike reminded me of three important lessons in hiking.
Reminder #1 - always have a map with you. I really don't need a map at RCSP but I always have one with me anyway. Mostly in case I or someone I'm with has a struggle or gets hurt I can get a quick look at the fastest way back to my car. But today I was reminded of the importance of having a map for other reasons. I got distracted by a landmark - a big farmhouse along the multi-use trail near the corrugated underpass. I normally wouldn't see this from the trail when the leaves are in full. I knew that I would be coming out off the trail onto the MU trail for a bit right by that farmhouse. But I forgot for a moment that the trail would first go away up and over the hill before turning back toward it. That distraction caused me to turn the wrong way. No harm done I realized it quick enough and my knowledge of the trails here meant I didn't have to take out my map to get back on track. BUT on a lesser known trail it is easy to get distracted - by a view or an animal or to stop and rest. It's easier than you think to get turned around. Don't rely on your GPS or Internet on your phone. Quite often there won't be service. Always carry a map.
Reminder #2 - it only takes a few degrees to turn what you wore to keep warm one day into a little too much the next day. There was no wind - or much less than yesterday anyway - today. I wore the same level of layers both in number and weight. I wasn't uncomfortable but I probably would have been on a longer hike. Fortunately I could have taken one off and stuffed it in my pack had I needed to. Which leads to reminder 2A - on a long hike (different for all of us) bring extra clothes in case you need to change for weather or because you got wet. At the very least dry socks and a shirt.
Reminder #3 - watch your nutrition. I did not eat a lot of breakfast before going out today. I ate very close to going out and didn't want to be fighting a digesting stomach. I should have paid more attention and refueled sooner in the hike. I changed my planned route mid stream and that made for an extra mile than I thought it would be. That mile made a lot of difference. My energy bottomed out just before mile 5.
Here is a link to the Garmin map of my route. I had a great a lot of fun today.