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.

5 Reasons To Hike To The Highest Point In All 50 States!

cxAdd the thrill of the 50 high point challenge to your bucket list of life long goals and you won’t be disappointed! Would you believe that America offers a vast array of thrilling high and low mountain adventures? Mt. Washington at only 6,288 feet, the highest point in New Hampshire, once held the highest recorded wind speed ever observed by man at 231 MPH! If you try to take on Washington’s Mt Rainer, you will be hiking on an active volcano just 150 miles from the infamous Mt. Saint Helens volcano. Other states highest “peaks” are literally in the middle of suburban neighborhoods, such as Delawares Ebright Azimuth standing tall at 448 feet! The 50 high point challenge offers both the thrill of a Himalayan expedition and the ease of a, “walk in the park” you never thought existed. Take some pride in our great country and explore these fun adventures in your own backyard. You will be surprised at how many state high points are located on famous trails such as the Appalachian, offer difficult mountaineering challenges, or take you off the beaten path to unique places away from the crowds. Here are the top 5 Reasons why you should climb to the highest point in all 50 states!

1. Another Excuse to Get Outside

Of course the number one reason to start “highpointing” is to give all of us another excuse to get outside, find adventure, breath fresh mountain air and travel this great country from sea to shining sea. When you start “highpointing” you will scratch that outdoor itch every time. Not only will you get a great hike under your belt, but the outdoor adventures surrounding each high point range from kayaking, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping and the list goes on and on! Each high point offers different wildlife, such as the herd of Bighorn Sheep on New Mexico’s Wheeler Peak, or the wild Grayson Highlands Ponies on Virginia’s Mt. Rogers. National Parks and landmarks are also near highpoints, such as Carlsbad Caverns National Park just 90 miles away from Texas’s Guadalupe Peak or Mount Rushmore only 30 miles from South Dakota’s Harney Peak.

2. Offers Opportunities for Everyone

The second reason is to spend more time with family and friends on trips that you can enjoy with anyone! No matter what age, gender, or disability, “highpointing” can be enjoyed by everyone. Since there are 50 different high points to climb, the high points across this great nation range from a drive up parking lot with wheel chair access, such as Florida’s Britton Hill, to an intermediate family fun hike like New York’s Mt. Marcy, to an all out 14 day expedition with a glacier crossing on Alaska’s Mt Denali (the highest point in North America). Taking on the 50 high points gives you a unique opportunity to spend time and plan trips with an array of family, friends or fellow hikers regardless of their skill or love for the outdoors.

3. Conquering Challenges

Just visiting all 50 states is a challenge all to itself, but actually planning a trip to a certain location to accomplish a certain goal becomes a very hard sought challenge. Some hikes such as Illinois’s Charles Mound are on private land and access can only be granted a couple weekends during the year. Other points offer greater challenges, such as Wyoming’s Gannett Peak, which has the longest round trip of any of the high points at nearly 50 miles. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a goal all the way through to fruition. Whether your goal is to take down the highest point in your home state, all the states in your region, or take on all 50 states, “highpointing” is a goal worth setting. This goal will be sure to keep you going for years to come. The real reward begins while sitting around with family and friends planning the next challenging high point to conquer.

4. Unique Cross Country Travel

Too often we get stuck in our comfort zones and end up only hiking, camping, or exploring in our own regions of the U.S. When we do end up planning a lavish trip, we end up backpacking across Europe or the Australian outback. Make your next big vacation a road trip to high point with more than just a hike, visit a place you never expected to visit, like hiking Louisiana’s Mt. Driskill. The high point is within minutes of where the infamous Bonnie and Clyde made their finally stand in a hail of bullets. Since you’re “highpointing” in the South you might as well eat some good BBQ. Stop in the town of Ruston, Louisiana just 20 miles east on I-20 just off Exit 84, and pick up the World Famous Scatterload sandwich from Brister’s Smokehouse for the best BBQ and sweet tea I’ve ever had. By adding the high points to your goals, you will end up traveling to all kinds of unique locations off the beaten path. Find new unique opportunities for photography, adventure, and places to eat that aren’t listed on yelp, or the cliche locations everyone visits!

5. The Views are Spectacular!

We all love to hike and camp, but nothing is better than adding a spectacular view to an adventure. There is something special that touches the souls of every man and woman, when we can stand atop a mountain and gaze out as far as the eye can see! I never expected to stand atop so many “flat” states like North Dakota’s White Butte that stands tall in the Little Missouri National Grasslands, and be able to take in a 360 degree view. I encourage you not to underestimate any state on the map, because every state will surprise you! From hundreds of waterfalls near Alabama’s Cheaha Mt, to hundreds of high Sierra lakes surrounding California’s Mt. Whitney!

5 Tips For Hiking

as1. A GOOD MAP STUDY – Start your trip weeks or days prior to hitting the trail. You don’t have to have an exact grid coordinates for where you will camp, but knowing the general area will make the entire trip easier and more comfortable. Buying large general maps and detailed topographic maps of the area will allow you to determine the large general area and then pinpoint the area in which you will hike and camp. These maps will show you which trails you can use, bodies of water, terrain features, elevation lines, etc. Just looking over the map for 15 -20 minutes will help you tremendously. Not knowing your cardinal directions and general land features can turn a causal relaxing hike into a survival situation. Although many people might consider it cheating, a GPS is also a great way to prepare for your trip. A GPS can download topographic maps and do most of the work for you, but don’t rely on them. Every form of technology will eventually fail, and it will probably happen when you need it most.

2. STUDY WEATHER CONDITIONS – I can’t emphasize enough how important this step is. Countless times I have watched the weather change dramatically from a sunny day, to dropping 20-30 degrees with a storm rolling in, before you have time to prepare. At a minimum, look at the weather forecast for the days in which you are on trail, but don’t rely on that forecast. Weathermen are the only people in the world who can fail at their job everyday and not get fired, so do your own secondary research. Determine where the weather reader station is located. Sometimes these weather reading stations may be 20 miles away from your campsite and at a totally different elevation. Elevation and terrain play a major role in changing weather conditions. You may be fine camping in 40 degree weather at 10,000 feet nestled in the tree line with zero wind. However, a camper a 1/2 mile away on the other side of the mountain, may have set up camp at 11,000 feet out of the tree line and directly in the path of 30 mph winds. (Temperatures decrease 3.3 degrees when it’s overcast and 5.4 degrees when its clear for every thousand feet gained and the windchill will always drop the temperature.) Also, try looking up old archives and averages of weather in the area for the time of year you will be visiting. This will help you determine if you need to bring that extra layer of clothing or an extra liter of water. By studying your map, choosing a good campsite, and understanding the weather where you are camping, you will be more prepared and comfortable.

3. MAKE A LIST OF ITEMS TO BRING – Everyone has the intention of packing light, but ends up with everything but the kitchen sink. The fist step in taking as little as possible is to buy a smaller pack than you think you may need. If you read a guide book that says you need a 60 liter pack, buy or bring a 50 liter pack. Second, make a list of all the camping, survival, and modern amenities you want to bring on the trip. Third, go down that entire list two or three times and try to remove 2 items each time. Depending on the trip, you can more than likely leave home without several items on your list. You may think it is impossible to leave home without water, food or shelter, right? Well if you plan accordingly you can leave it all behind. Now I’m not saying to run out into the wild with only the clothes on your back and a knife in your teeth, but I am trying to save you from carrying unnecessary pounds. Items like water, food, and shelter may already be on the trail if you use a little ingenuity. Collect fresh water from lakes or creeks and catch fish for dinner ever night!

4. DETERMINE PACK LAYOUT – The perfect pack layout can only be determined by you, and you alone. Once you have narrowed down the exact items for your trip, start mixing and matching where they fit best and try on your pack each time. I have never packed my bag right on the first try. Try turning the lights off and test the difficulty of finding essential items in the dark. Can you find your extra batteries in the dark when your headlamp goes out? Plan for the worst, know your gear, and your backpacking trip will be that much more enjoyable.

Of course there is the tried and tested way to pack, but each person has a different pack, different physical fitness level, skill level and body type. What works for the best hiker in the world may not work for you. Get out and test your pack loaded up before a long hike. I follow the basic routine of lightweight items at the bottom (sleeping bag), heavy items in the middle (tent, water) and medium to lightweight items at the top (camp stove, ground pad).

5. TEST AND MAINTAIN EQUIPMENT – Multiple times on trail I’ve come across someone or been the one with a broken backpack strap, an empty canister of cooking fuel, or a broken tent pole. Sometimes these events can’t be avoided and it adds to the fun/challenge of the adventure. But most of the time, they are due to poor planning, and not testing your equipment prior to getting out on trail. Every essential item such as your CamelBak, cooking stove, tent poles and backpack straps must be checked prior to any hike. Checking your CamelBak for leaks, making sure your stove works, checking tent poles for cracks/bends, and checking backpack straps for wear and tear can eliminate the risk to discovering these issues on trail. Not only is checking and testing your gear important, but maintaining is even more essential. Every time after that long weekend in the wild, I just want to throw my pack down and crash on the couch. But being lazy now, and not taking 30 minutes to air out and clean your gear can spell disaster for your next trip. Items hold in moisture and dirt which can turn into mildew and ruin your gear, costing you money, time and comfort. Rinse out items like your CamelBak and cooking equipment, and dry out your tent and sleeping bag. You will be thankful at the start of your next trip.

Extra Tip: BRING SMALL COMFORTS OF HOME – Each time you step out into the unknown it should be a life changing, learning, and memorable experience you enjoy. If you aren’t having fun then you need to change some things up. You don’t have to live off the land or not shower for weeks to feel like you are one with nature. Small amenities from home can mean all the difference. Items I always pack include a small containers with a few different spices, a lemon for flavoring on fresh caught fish, and a small cup of pre-made buttered rice or vegetables. These items can make a huge difference in your on trail meal. If you have a vice, don’t choose this hike to quit or you will never want to go back. If you are a smoker, addicted to chocolate, or sour patch kids like myself, make sure you bring them along. Smokers just pack out your butts, no one behind you wants to see that in nature and the risk of starting a fire is also a reason to be cautious. Get creative and mix your sweets into your trail mix. Bring some flavored Gatorade or tea packets to mix with the clear fresh mountain water. Whatever your heart desires, bring it with you to make an enjoyable hike into the wild that much more enjoyable.

Hiking Alone, a Thrilling Sensation

gysThe best way for me to enjoy hiking is alone with only my dog for company and to walk for several hours. It takes a little time to reach the ‘hiking sensation’, where I forget time and place and feel somehow grounded – in contact with my surroundings. I feel I have ‘arrived’ when the scents of the plants and trees have reached my consciousness; the magical scents of mastic trees, strawberry trees and pines and the almost paralyzing scents of herbs such as sage and thyme. When I am no longer thinking but just walking with my attention on the landscape, immersed in its scents and colours, then I feel I’m hiking.

When I walk through dense woods surrounded by tall trees in the beautiful nature of Alonnisos island I always get the feeling of being in a cave. It’s somehow like being hidden inside the forest and it creates a thrilling sensation. If the trip continues up on a hill with a wonderful view then the experience changes and the feeling of seeing the whole world from up there fills my heart. If this nice feeling is accompanied by the sound of bells from half wild goats jumping around on the rocks then the height of sensations is reached.

There is a small archeological area on a top of a hill not so far from where I live. When I go there I start following a beautiful earth road and then I continue on the path which rises steeply up through brushwood and trees. Higher when I get out of the brushwood I walk along flat terraces full of green grass. Then opens up an astonishing view and I throw myself on the grass to chill out and enjoy the view of the steep slopes towards the sea. The exciting thing about visiting undeveloped archeological sites is that you can let your fantasy run free. The remains of fortification walls are still intact here with boulders cut at square angles and with small indentations forming a pattern that according to historical sources is characteristic of the Greek classical period 500 BC. So they were built more than 2500 years ago! It seems like nothing has happened ever since in that area, as if the people suddenly broke up and left. With a little imagination I am back in that time feeling the historical whirring of wings. I think this is possibly because I have reached this place on foot struggling up through brushwood and steep paths. The spirit is intact.

On the way down I follow a path through a narrow ravine and when the landscape opens up the path continues down bending its way through high grass. Here the smell of the sea reaches my nose and my psychological condition changes again. The sound and the smell of the sea are as welcome as all the other sounds and scents that I have enjoyed along the tour. Reaching the beach I rest on the sand and as a person who loves to use my body I enjoy how my tired muscles are slightly aching after the long trip – meanwhile the dog is taking a swim in the sea.

Let’s Go Hiking!

gyNow that the weather is starting to warm up, we start thinking about getting outdoors and enjoying nature. One of the outdoor activities we think about is going hiking. What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than to start planning a hiking trip and what you will need for that trip.

Spring is such a beautiful time of year, the Winter is over and the weather is warming up. The flowers are blooming and the birds are singing and nesting. It is an ideal time to hit the trails and breathe the fresh air. Depending on the part of the country you live in, you may have been cooped up indoors all during the Winter. It is exhilarating to know that you can now go hiking and enjoy the fresh air, and once more be connected to our beautiful natural world!

Hiking is wonderful exercise. There are so many health benefits, no matter what age you are. If you like to walk, why not expand your horizons by walking on a trail? As you walk down that trail, you may encounter wildlife and birds you wouldn’t see elsewhere. In this country we are blessed to have many different terrains. There are mountains, foothills, prairies, coastal flat lands, and ancient forests to choose from. There are many national parks and wildlife refuges that truly demonstrate the many natural wonders. It is also an educational experience for our children, who learn about not only the natural beauty of our world, but get the physical exercise and fresh air to keep them healthy. As adults, we can set a good example. It is much better than sitting inside doing computer or video games all day!

I have always loved being outdoors since I was a child. In my own experience, having grown up in Florida, I have walked the trails in the forests north of town, as well as the woodlands south of town and closer to the coast. Each location has a different terrain and therefore offers different types of birds and wildlife. One of my favorite places to walk is at a wildlife refuge, complete with its piney woods and salt marshes. I have many memories through the years of my experiences while hiking. It is my hope that many people will have the same experience, it is truly uplifting!. Added to that,there are so many quality products these days, such as backpacks, hiking poles, and binoculars, that add ease to the hiking experience. How does it get any better than that!

Health Benefits Of Hiking Outdoors

vgMost people know hiking is good for their body and health in general but what they may not know is just how beneficial is it. So if you intend to go hiking this summer by yourself or with family and friends keep in mind that hiking the outdoors has lots of benefits such as, fresh air, enjoyable sights and noises and sounds of nature. Also keep in mind that hiking, like exercise, is good for you as it is considered a great cardio workout that may do the following:

  • boost your mood
  • boost bone density
  • exercise the whole body
  • improve your blood pressure
  • improves blood sugar levels
  • build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
  • control your weight
  • improve balance
  • lower your risk of heart disease
  • lower risk of colon and breast cancer, and possibly lung and endometrial cancer
  • reduces depression and
  • improve better quality sleep.

Kids also get lots of the same benefits like adults do. For instance, hiking help kids benefit from the following:

  • recuperate cardio-respiratory
  • muscular fitness
  • enhance bone health
  • decrease the possibility of becoming overweight
  • decrease the possibility of developing risk factors for type 2 diabetes
  • decrease the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease
  • promotes better sleep
  • reduces the risk of depression and high stress and inability to learn and concentrate in school.

Therefore, by familiarizing yourself, friends, family and your kids to hiking, you are aiding them choose a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, hiking drills virtually every part of your body, it nurtures your imagination and generates responsiveness in your eyes and ears and the rest of your senses. Remember that you do not have to be in great shape to start hiking. In fact, people who are not so active can still enjoy nature by starting off with easy hikes before stepping up to steeper hikes that will drill the body more. Exploring nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, work, and daily routine will let you relate to nature in a manner that it generates inner peace, serenity and total wellness. So what ever location you have picked to hike with friends and family this summer, keep in mind that the great outdoors can be challenging, however, just relax and look forward to your adventure in order to fully enjoy the unique experience such as fresh air, enjoyable sights, noises and sounds.

Hiking in Blue Ridge, Georgia

ftBlue Ridge Hiking Suggestions

Hiking is one of our guest’s favorite activities so we thought we would provide you with some suggestions to make your hiking trips safer and more enjoyable. There are many trails in the Blue Ridge area including the famous Benton MacKaye Trail and the Appalachian Trail. These trails provide ample hiking opportunities for all level of hikers. Several trails lead to some beautiful waterfalls including Long Creek Falls. There are trail heads located all around the Blue Ridge area.

• Let someone know where you are going before you leave. If there is not anyone at the cabin you are staying then call a friend back home just to let them know the exact location you will be starting and what trail you will be on. Tell them you will call when you return.

• Hike in groups or use the buddy system. Anyone even experienced hikers can run into trouble while in the wild so use the buddy system. A variety of things can happen in the wilderness from snakebites, bug bites, to a slip and fall. It is best never to hike alone. Even if you are hiking with a group make sure someone not on the hike knows where you are starting and when you expect to return.

• Stay hydrated. Carry enough water for the day and your pack will get lighter as the day progresses. We suggest that you carry more water than you think you will drink because you never know if you will be out longer than you think, the hike will be more challenging than expected, or hotter than predicted.

• Bring snacks to keep your energy level up during the hike. Also, make sure you have a little extra food and water just in case. Be sure to pack up all trash and keep all your food in airtight containers to prevent attracting predatory animals. We also want to keep our natural beauty litter free.

• Bring sunscreen and bug spray. I also like to carry a stick so I can move plants that I am concerned could be prickly or poisonous. We suggest that you wear hiking boots for better footing and to protect your feet and ankles from bugs, animals, and plants.

• Plan a hike that is suitable for all members of the party and let the slower person set the pace. When resting investigate the area that you plan to sit and be aware that snakes like rocks.

• Wear wicking type fabric not cotton, it will keep you cooler and wick away moisture even in cold weather. Layer clothing in cold weather. Wear bright colors not camouflage clothing so you can be seen if lost or if hunters are in the area.

• Do not climb waterfalls it can be dangerous and harms the natural environment.

• Remember you are in the home of many wild creatures so respect their home and pick up all trash, don’t remove rocks or anything from the natural setting. Snakes like to hide in thick brush, leaves, and under rocks or wood so stay on the trail and don’t disturb any rocks or wood.

• Bring a whistle so that you can be easily heard and located in case of emergency or if you get lost. It is much easier to use a whistle for a long time than it is to yell.

Most of all enjoy the wildlife, nature, and beauty.

How to Hike Smart in Extreme Hot Temperatures

fuDespite the excessive heat warning, it is likely to still experience the outdoors in this hot summer weather. The only thing you need to do is modify your reasoning a little and be aware of safety measures as you hit the trails. Do not allow yourself to be one of those heat drained hikers, take precaution and use the following information to help you hike smart in extreme high temperature.

· Having the proper hiking gears is very essential. Ensure that you wear proper boots to support your feet and ankle.

· Do not hit the trail by yourself, always hike with a friend or family so you can support each other.

· Ensure that you take frequent breaks especially hiking in excessive hot temperature. In the desert where the temperature is extremely hot, it is imperative to take frequent breaks in order to keep your body cool.

· It is important to always look for shelter in order stay out of the sun. Try as much as possible to take advantage of shady spots especially when the clouds starts hovering over the sun. Get out of the sun as much as you can, both on breaks and on the trail.

· Clothing is always personal preference. Hats are very important to bring on your trail to guard against the extreme hot sun. Ball-caps are good but brimmed hats are preferable as it also covers the back of your neck as well as your ears.

· Always plan to set out early in the morning when the sun is not extremely hot and choose short trails in order not to be out too long in the sun. If you really do not want to be hit by the sun, then head out early, so you can enjoy the sunrise and head back before the temperature gets uncomfortable.

· It is important that you bring water on your hike. How much water you bring with you when hiking in the desert really depends on the length, strain of the hike, the day temperature and your thirst capability. It is necessary to bring enough water and sports drinks as it is advisable to drink at least a liter per hour of hiking. Keep in mind that drinking soda or alcohol while hiking will dry you out.

· The best snacks for the trail are ones that will provide you with high energy, such as fruit, granola, peanut butter, bagels, power bars, fruit bars, trail mix, beef jerky, or even candy plus some salty nuts to replenish the salt you sweat out. For longer hikes, bring more protein snacks with you.

· Make sure you eat regularly because your body is functioning tremendously fast and needs to replenish energy quickly. So continue replenishing your body with salty and protein snacks.

Don’t Make the Same Mistakes

hgWell, it’s summertime again and that can only mean that for most of us it is a time to get out and enjoy some fun in the sun. Now, while many of you might head to the beach for that annual sunburn, most of us would prefer the fun and freedom of hiking and camping the great outdoors. No matter whether it is waking to the sounds of birds chirping on a crisp mountain morning or the being lulled to sleep by crickets on a starry night. Hiking and camping can be one of the nicest ways to really come to understand the wilderness. You might choose to hike in the mountains or valleys, visiting waterfalls or other famous landmarks and camp in the woods maybe near a river. Either way, just be certain to properly prepare for both and don’t make the same mistakes I have made in the past.

Camping and Hiking Tips

Now, once you determine on a specific site and time you are wanting to begin your hike, you will want to plan on what you need to take with you, how much you will need, and probably most important, what you don’t need to bring with you. Below are just a few simple tips that should prove very helpful.

Probably one of the first items to consider would be the proper footwear if you are planning on going hiking. The correct fit and comfort are vital for successful hiking trip. Based on the location of the hike, you will want to decide the weight, durability, and if you will need them to be waterproof or not. Remember, you will most likely be encountering uneven and rough terrain, so boot selection needs serious consideration, so do your research. In addition to the boots, be sure to bring along extra pairs of good hiking socks. This will not only help avoid you getting blisters, but in the event that your socks get wet, it will offer you some dry backup options.

Next on the, ‘what to bring list’, should be a good backpack. Based on the number of days you intend on hiking will largely determine the size and scope of the pack you will need. If you are camping along your hiking route, then you will need a larger pack that can accommodate not only your clothes, but also you tent and sleeping bag, food and cooking stove/utensils, and water and other necessities. If you are this during the colder months, you will need to plan for additional winter gear and garments. If it is the rainy season, then proper raingear would be a must.

Avoid The Same Hiking Mistakes I Made

Let’s dive into some of the specifics on what we covered above:

    • If you plan on camping through your hike- Get a good quality tent. Be sure to consider the size and quality. You will want a good rainfly. Don’t make the mistake I made once and get a tent based on how it looked ‘cool’. You want function over fashion any day. You also will want a small tarp to place under the tent to help keep the tent floor dry. You can also use this as a rain cover should you get caught in a storm during your hike. A roll of duct tape and some seam sealer are always good to have should your tent form some leaks or a seam split. I learned that the hard way.
    • For sleeping at night, a good sleeping bag and a roll to lay it on is great idea. Be sure to decide on what best fits your needs. Each bag is rated for various temperature conditions. The pad is to roll out under the under the sleeping bag to not only provide some comfort, but to create another moisture barrier. If you bag gets wet, it almost impossible to dry it out during your hike.
    • For cooking food, you will need a small camp stove and something to ignite a fire. Generally, you want to refrain from starting an open fire as it can be prohibited in many national and state forests. Be sure you have a cooking pot, skillet, utensils, plates, and a good knife. Of course some zip-lock bags are great for not only storing food, but also rain proofing important items.
    • For the food itself, planning out each meal is key. Bringing items like cereal, powdered milk, granola for breakfast and heat and eat freeze dried meals for lunch and dinners. Remember that weight is an important consideration, so bringing a lot of canned foods, may tend to weigh you down. Of course you will need plenty of water and a refillable container that you can use along the way. Don’t forget the water purification tablets either, again, learned that the hard way as well.
    • As for general miscellaneous equipment, a compass, some light rope, a can / bottle opener, a signal mirror, and a first aid kit are very important. Extra batteries are a great idea as well, if you have devices that require them. Just be mindful about the added weight.
  • Finally, clothing will need to be considered. If you are changing elevations, the weather can change quickly as well. What started out in the 70 and 80’s can quickly turn into the 40’s and below, especially as the sunsets. Don’t get caught without the proper sweaters or blankets. Likewise, in the heat of the day, having a good hat and sunscreen can prevent you from getting too much sun or even dehydrated. I also strongly recommend a good pair of sunglasses. Yea, you guessed it; I forgot those too.

Now that you are armed with these basic hiking and camping tips, my hope is that you don’t make the same mistakes that I have made. If you plan appropriately and are well-equipped, your experience should be safe and enjoyable. So, no more excuses, get out there and take on the great outdoors and have a blast doing it.