Essentials for a Hike

sfWhen on a hike, safety is your biggest concern. You could get injured or even lose your way. Sports watches with GPS help to navigate yourself back home. Similarly, with that, here is a short list of essentials to pack light, smart and be prepared for a safe and pleasant hiking journey.

A good breakfast. You must have already heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yes, it is true. Your morning meal before a hike should include a cereal (oats or wheat), which will give you the necessary carbohydrates for energy. Your energy level can be kept on track throughout the day by sipping on water as well as munching onto fruits and nuts.

Inform someone about your plans. Never take off without informing your family or a friend that you are planning to hike and which direction you intend to go. In case you are not back in time, rescuers will have an idea where to find you. You could also use your GPS enabled watch to navigate back. Never post your itinerary anywhere on your car as this can attract thieves.

Weather update. Be informed about the weather conditions within your trail. Accordingly you should be clothing yourself to keep you warm and dry. If the weather turns out to be worse than expected, always choose to return home. Do not risk your life for anything. The mountains are always going to be there on the same trail.

Hiking equipment. A compass is a very valuable tool but you could also carry a sports watch with GPS instead because those come with inbuilt compass as well as additional navigation tools. A map and a guidebook will also be helpful.

Light source. Headlamp or a flashlight is extremely essential even if you don’t intend on staying out till dark. Twist your ankle or take a wrong turn and your hike will take much longer than expected.

First aid kit. Just basic stuff such as bandages, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, gauze and pain relief tablets should be sufficient.

Lots of water. You need more than the normal daily intake of water required because you are exercising. Not only do you feel better with water, your body also functions better when you stay hydrated.

Duct tape. This should be your secret weapon. Wind it around your water bottle to make sure it stays close at hand. A tear in your tent or a hole in your canoe can be saved with duct tape.

6 Ways Why Hiking Is Better Than Going to the Gym

cxxGyms spur on people to work out to get in shape. As a matter of fact, health clubs and gyms do a great job helping millions of people get rid of those extra pounds and live their lives to the fullest. All of the activities, such as aerobic classes, aerobic exercises and treadmills happen inside a building that can be a club or gym. But is there any activity that is more stimulating? Yes, it may be hiking. Let’s know more about it.

According to experts, for mountain sports lovers, hiking is on the list of one of the best aerobic activities. The beauty of hiking is that you don’t need to pay any fee and it can be done outdoors. While working out in a gym can help you burn the unwanted fat and get in shape, I think, gyms still leave a gap. Although working out in a gym has its benefits, we can’t deny the fact that hiking has a number of advantages over it. Let’s take a look at them.

· When hiking, you take in fresh air, which is something you can’t do in a gym where there is smell of sweat and noise of machines.

· In a way, hiking breathes new life into your body.

· Hiking improves the function of your brain

· In a gym, there are a lot of people working out. It’s like you are on a busy road. But while hiking you are on your own with atmosphere full of peace.

· Hiking is almost costless. All you need is a pair of hiking shoes and you are good to go.

· You don’t have to spend time waiting for the weights or machines.

Here are the results of a research study conducted in 2004. The research was done to find out how hiking can affect the amount of sugar in the body of hikers. The research involved many members divided in two groups. The research was done in the Alps. One group was asked to hike uphill for 60 days. The other group was sent to the top through a cable car. After 60 days, the group was asked to switch their relative programs, doing the experiment again.

According to the findings, hiking offers a lot of health benefits. Climbing up and down brings the “bad” cholesterol levels down. As a matter of fact, downhill hiking does a better job of reducing blood sugar levels and enhancing glucose tolerance. This is what this simple activity can do for you.

You see that the study showed that hiking is good for health. In fact, I always believed that hiking had tremendous health benefits, but this study proved it very well. The study was done by the researchers at a well known institute. Indeed, hiking is a great activity if you want to improve your fitness level and stay healthy for as long as you are alive.

5 Best Places to Go Hiking Near Portland, Oregon

fjHave you visited Portland before? Or are you looking for hiking locations in Portland? Few urban cities in America have stately green spaces, giving sightseers views that are remote and quiet within the city. We have put together a list of hiking trails that’ll leave your legs burning and provide loads of fun along the trail:

1) Oxblow Regional Park

Be sure to go there with your fishing rod for a fun day of hike and fishing. This hiking park is well-known for fishing and is close to Oregon camping. This park is near Gresham and offers a 3.3-mile loop that includes long stretches. One of the fascinating features of the recreation center is the “ancient forest” which is composed of large, hundred-year-old trees that rise above the trail, and the river.

2) Washington Park

Beautiful deep woods and a mountain view makes this gem one of the best hikes within Portland. The Wildwood Trail begins and ends at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where signs for Wildwood Trail is posted throughout the hike to ensure safety and prevent health hazards.

3) Tryon Creek State Park

Tryon Creek State Park is a state park that can be found inside one of the major metropolitan areas, just minutes from downtown Portland if driving. Tyron Creek State Park provides several activities within its boundaries such as a 659-acre park with several good hiking trails to follow. If you are experiencing health challenges that will hinder your foot from long trips, come along with a bike, bicycle or a horse as there is a trail that guarantees fun if you decide to go by those options.

It is a good idea for the whole family to be fit in order to view the entire 2.7-mile loop. Starting at the visitor’s center, follow Old Main Trail, then the Red Fox Trail Cedar Trail to the loop.

4) Mount Tabor

This park takes you through a 2-mile hike from the 60th Avenue Trailhead that brings you to the summit of a dormant volcano with amazing views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood.

Various routes can be taken to complete the hike with many things to admire such as picnic areas, playgrounds statues.

5) Pittock Mansion

There is parking space for your bikes, cars, bikes and bicycles at the Lower Macleay Park. After packing, begin by walking under the Thurman Street Bridge. There are various trail options to choose from, but focusing on the Wildwood Trail you are guaranteed to reach your destination.

At the top, you will find beautiful views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood as Well as the Historical Pittock Mansion, which is always open for tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.

10 Items You Should Leave Behind to Make Your Pack Lighter

cc1 – Leave Water Behind

Water is essential to all life, but just one gallon weighs 8 pounds. If we plan to head out into the wild, we don’t have to bring that store bought bottled water with us. Where do you think that clean crisp bottled water comes from? It comes from wild springs and clean mountain creeks. If we are in an area with plenty of fresh water, we can ditch that bottled water and save several pounds. Maybe you aren’t sure if the water is drinkable in the area you’re hiking, but you know there is water in the area. Bring a water pump or water purifier you can easily pick up at your local outdoor store, and it weighs much less than a gallon of water. Using snow for water is another easy technique. You can collect snow in your cooking stove and melt it to make drinkable water. If you are going to use this technique, you need to make sure you have just enough water to coat the bottom of your cooking stove or it will burn the snow and the stove.

2 – Leave Food Behind

Another essential to life is food! Once again, a good understanding of the area you are in will make all the difference. Every time I go out, I pack in a few meals and plan to catch or harvest a few on trail. Packing in Mountain House meals can also add up very quickly. One mountain house can weigh nearly 6 ounces. If you eat three meals a day over a weekend camping trip, that can add up to almost 3 pounds of food! Catching fish, trapping wildlife, or harvesting berries/nuts can go a long way. Study your map for good fishing locations. A simple 30 dollar pole and reel can catch more than enough fish to sustain your appetite. Study the local plants in the area and determine which ones are edible and which ones are in season. Eating what mother nature provides, makes us feel amazing, and one with nature.

3 – Leave Shelter Behind

The last of the BIG 3 essentials for sustaining life is a shelter. Depending on the quality and material of the tent you own, it could weigh as much as 5 pounds! I’ve personally seen people hike in 8, 6, and 4 person tents and only sleep 1 or 2 people in the tent. All that extra tent is just pounds for you to carry. Maybe you have some 600 dollar, state of the art, one person tent that weighs two pounds right? Start thinking of some options to ditch that expensive tent. An item like a Bivy Sack, is a good alternate to tents and still gives us shelter but for almost no weight. If you are really getting adventurous, bring a tarp or hammock to string up from tree to tree. If we want to harness our inner Mick Dodge, and the area permits, we can make our own forest shelter. This can be really fun if you have kids, they will really get into making a fort/shelter for the night. But remember to rip it down after, in order to Leave No Trace.

4 – Leave the cooking stove Behind

A cooking stove is one item I love to bring, but it can be completely obsolete if you are permitted to have fires. First you need to check the area in which we are camping. We may need a stove to cook our fish or boil water, if camp fires aren’t permitted. Some people don’t care about a hot meal before bed, and living off trail mix and beef jerky for a weekend should be an easy alternative. For most of us the camping stove is a major part of making the outdoors comfortable. If you’re like me, and you need that warm meal before the lights go out, start practicing cooking over an open flame. Making an adequate cooking fire and hiking a simple cooking pan in can make all the difference. The pan you bring may not weigh much more than a camp stove, but may be lighter than multiple fuel cans. Place your items on a scale and see what works best for you. Since I don’t mind packing in a little extra weight, my camping stove always comes along. Most of the time I cook my main meal (fish, meat) over the fire and cook a side dish (rice,veggies) in my stove at the same time. Decide and practice whatever works best for you.

5 – Leave the sleeping bag Behind

Unless it’s consistently hot day and night where you’re camping, you’re probably not going to leave your sleeping bag at home. Sleeping bags can weigh from 3-5 pounds depending on the design of the bag. You can buy a very light sleeping bag adequate for the area in which you’re camping. If you’re in the desert, where its 90 degrees during the day and 40 at night, a good ground pad, goose down pants and jacket might be good enough to act as a sleeping bag. Taking a thin sheet could also be plenty enough to keep you warm and very easy to fold up and pack. I highly recommend studying the night time temperatures religiously before you leave your sleeping bag at home.

6 – Leave the ground pad Behind

The ground pad keeps us warm, clean and comfortable on those long camp nights, but it also isn’t necessary. Gathering leaves, moss or finding soft ground can be more comfortable than the most expensive ground pad on the market. Every time I set my tent or ground pad up, I add some cushion underneath my ground pad.

7 – Leave the trekking poles Behind

I don’t recommend leaving behind trekking poles if the hike is long, gains extreme elevation, or you’re not a very skilled hiker. Trekking poles can prevent injury and allow a hiker to maintain stamina on the trial. If it is a short weekend hike or you feel strong enough, leave the poles behind.

8 – Leave the Bear Canister Behind:

Some areas may require you to have a bear canister, and in that case we are out of luck if we want to leave it behind. Other areas may allow you to set up a counter balance. In most cases, just carrying in a bear canister is easier than trying to set up a counter balance 15 feet high and 10 feet from the tree. This item isn’t at the top of my list of items I would leave behind.

9 – Leave the batteries behind

We may not have to leave all of our batteries behind, but you can leave most of them. Too many times I’ve watched someone pull a fresh, unopened pack of ten batteries out of their bag. It is just unnecessary useless weight. Why not just bring 2-4 extra batteries for the trip. If it is a long trip, using a solar panel will also help us get rid of battery weight.

10 – Leave the Clothes Behind

I’m not saying to become a nudist and hike off into the wild, but I am trying to make you think about what unnecessary clothes and boots you may pack into camp. Most places in the summer months don’t require heavy jackets or pants. Study the weather conditions, and elevation to determine what you need to bring. Get rid of those old heavy hiking boots and try hiking in lighter more agile trail running shoes. You’re legs and back will thank you later.