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.
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.
Hikers and backpackers are constantly outside and being active, even in the off season. The physical impact of carrying weight, working muscles repeatedly, and being exposed to uncontrolled conditions can take its toll both in the short and long term. Being able to hike, backpack, snowshoe and do whatever outdoor activities you choose is a special thing, and calls for attention to remain possible, comfortable, and enjoyable.
To stay healthy and protected from injuries, here are a few self-care tips to keep you doing what you love.
Where do you take friends and family when they come to visit?
Is it on your favorite hike, to a great coffee shop, to the biggest shopping mall, or somewhere else?
For me, though a few places make the list, bringing people to the most grand and gorgeous gear shop near me is an absolute must.
Have you ever passed a hiker on the trail who looked prepared to summit K2 at any moment? I know I have, even on easy trails with the city in clear visibility. I have also watched as tourists in sandals and business casual attire embarked into the Grand Canyon, armed with Venti Starbucks drinks instead of water.
It can seem difficult to strike balance between overconcern and under preparation. That line was blurry to me when I began hiking alone, often resulting in me placing myself in needlessly uncomfortable and unsafe situations. What seemed missing was a description of the necessities of safe hiking, presented with reason and practicality for the beginner hiker in mind.
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.
|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|
|X-Small||6C - 8.5C||1.5- 3.5||5 - 6||12.7 - 15.24|
9C - 11.5C
|3.5 - 5.5||6 - 7||15.25 - 17.78|
|5.5 - 8.5||7 - 8||17.79 - 20.32|