Hiking... it is both calming and energizing. It is when I often feel most free. It can be whatever you want it to be- thoughtful or meditative, relaxing or challenging. It is a way to connect with the natural world, with others, and with yourself. It makes you more appreciative, and helps you understand your relative size. You discover beautiful things on every trail. It is one of the healthiest and most refreshing activities available.
Hiking is for you. If you are a beginner hiker looking to get out more, your best times on the trail are ahead. If you are a highly experienced outdoor adventurer, there are hikes you have not seen yet that will inspire, challenge, or give you an opportunity to take in the power of the natural world. If you have never pulled on a pair of hiking boots or packed the 10 essentials in a backpack, an entire world is out there waiting for you!
Beginning to hike can feel daunting. Often, articles and guides about starting to hit the trail can feel discouraging, dangerous and expensive. On the other hand, beginning to hike safely does require a certain level of preparation, fitness and knowledge. What you need to prepare for a hike seems very different from the sales floor of a gear shop than it does from watching hikers armed with cotton t-shirts and single water bottles around a trailhead. Where does a new hiker begin?
In the coming months, a series of articles will come out on the Cloudline blog to help you start hiking. From selecting the right gear to not spending a fortune, and from determining a route to being ready for the unexpected, tools for safe exploring will come out at the beginning of each month. The full “Hey Friends, Let’s Hike. A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking” series will include:
Thinking back, some of my favorite moments have been on trails: some of them difficult, and some of them easy. The experiences gained from hiking often are not just practical for other hikes, but have impacted me in every area of life. Hiking has taught me about overcoming fear, taking time for myself, and being open with others. It has fueled a fire in me for adventure and exploration. In the coming months, I hope the practical tips and guides for starting to hike will enable you to hit the trail!
In full embrace
My eager skin
Each step I count
Attentive, I discover
The spaces between
Sand and sky
This mountain and me
No spaces now
Unless I make them
The world unreal
Nature claims me
Again her own
Wild and free to explore and be
I pause and stare
To find inside
Winding paths of dirt and stone-
The best of myself
The best of us all
The beauty of life
On a hiking trail.
Hey friends, let’s hike. See you out there!
Some trails are familiar, like a pair of cushioned slippers formed to your feet. Each turn is comforting and warm, as known as the pages of your favorite book. Some trails are rocky and wild, proving to you with every mile both the thrill of nature and your own limitations. For different experience levels, locations, time constraints and moods, there are likely to be a variety of trails near you that meet your needs. With some helpful resources and considerations, finding the perfect hiking trail is easy.
From hiking dog jealousy to estimating the calorie-to-weight ratio of entire grocery stores, outdoor adventurers have unique experiences all around.
Here are just a few to make you laugh, paired with watercolor interpretations of outdoorsy absurdity.
My first pair of sturdy, quality hiking boots changed my outdoor experience. Before them, I tumbled around awkwardly in slippery, ill-fitting, non-breathable (and somehow also non-waterproof) boots, coming away from hikes happy but covered in scrapes, bruises, and favoring tender limbs. My arches would ache, and eventually, the dull pain would spread to my leg joints. Then I bought “my blue boots.” The most significant outdoor purchase I had ever made, I was unconvinced that they would be worth it. Now, without a doubt in my mind, I can say they were absolutely worth the price.
|Small||4 - 6.5||2 - 4.5||35 - 37||20.5 - 23|
7 - 9.5
|5 - 7.5||38 - 40||23.5 - 25.5|
|8 - 10.5||41 - 45||26 - 28.5|
13.5 - 15
|11 - 13.5||46 - 49||29 - 31|
|Small||N/A||N/A||N/A||20.5 - 23|
6 - 8.5
|5.5 - 8||39 - 41||23.5 - 25.5|
|8.5 - 11||42 - 44||26 - 28.5|
12 - 14.5
|11.5 - 14||45 - 47||29 - 31|
|WOMEN'S||FITS SIZES||US Sizes (Inches)|
|Small||2 - 4||Length: 26"||Width: 15 ¾"|
|Medium||6 - 8||Length: 26 ½"||Width: 16 ½"|
|Large||8 - 10||Length: 27 ⅛ "||Width: 17 ½"|
|X-Large||10 - 14||Length: 27 ¾"||Width: 18 ½"|
|2X-Large||14 - 18||Length: 28 ⅜"||Width: 19 ½|
|MEN'S / UNISEX||CHEST TO FIT||US Sizes (Inches)|
|Small||34 - 37||Length: 28"||Width: 18"|
38 - 41
|Length: 29"||Width: 20"|
42 - 45
|Length: 30"||Width: 22"|
46 - 49
|Length: 31"||Width: 24"|
|2X-Large||50 - 53||Length: 32"||Width: 26"|