Hiking/Trail Running

Discussion in 'Lifestyle, Health, Fitness & Food' started by broj15, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    Have always been an avid runner, but really got out of the habit after moving to the city (hard to get motivated about running on a flat grid of brick and concrete), but recently decided that if I don't start doing something that this "quarantine 15" could turn into a quarantine 30 before I realize it, and I don't want that.

    So I've decided to take up hiking/trail running. Last week I did a total of ~30 miles (two 10 mile hikes and two 5 mile hikes) and today I went out on a loop trail that ended up being a little less than 9 miles with a total elevation gain of 790 feet (though never a super steep grade. Kinda wish there was though as it'd be a good for my legs)

    So right now I'm just trying to build some healthy habits, learn a bit more about how to use a topo map & compass if I wanna tackle a trail that isn't well marked or maintained, and just get better at old school forms of navigation & Bushcraft/survival techniques (already gotten into foraging through my job. Snacked on some gooseberries & found over 5 pounds of wood ear mushrooms last week).

    My ultimate goal is to go on a 2-3 day ~30 mile hike before the cold weather really sets in at the end of the year.

    In the mean time, does anyone having any recommendations for gear I might need (maps, good trail GPS, compass, proper footwear, etc.) As well as resources for finding new trails. So far I've been having good luck with AllTrails and it seems more accurate & up to date than most of the .gov websites I've looked at for information. If there are any other solid resources for finding trails, or just in general I'm definitely open to suggestions.
     
  2. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire grossly incandescent

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    Being able to navigate with a compass and map is an invaluable skill. I'd suggest reading up on military style land nav and topographical maps/terrain features. Might be worth seeing if you can find some classes about land nav before diving in head first. As far as footwear, everyone's needs are different. You're better off going to a specialty outdoors store and talking to them about what you want to do. For longer distance stuff you want a lighter weight boot as every ounce matters on multi-day hikes. I cannot stress how important it is to get proper fitting boots that feel comfortable, as any hot spots will be made 10x worse over time. Perfect example, I was issued a pair of boots from the army that had a hard plastic heel cup that absolutely shredded the back of my heel over time because the heel cup jutted out JUUUST enough to rub off the skin and make my feet a bloody mess every time we went on rucks. Once I bought a better pair it was never an issue ever again.
    Definitely worth reading up on basic survival and first aid skills like building a bivouac/fire, splinting, blister mitigation, preventing trench foot and frostbite, etc. The blister one is huge (toed socks help, same with learning to make a donut out of moleskin that surrounds the blister rather than completely covering it). Also learn to keep most of your pack weight close to your hips, and pack heavier less essential items towards the bottom of your pack. That makes a huge difference in hilly terrain and will save your lower back from being overly stressed.
     
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  3. JSanta

    JSanta SS.org Regular

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    Completely agree with everything here. I was an Infantryman, so good boots and socks are key. I like Merrell and Danner boots, but your best bet is to get properly fitted. And wear them around for a couple of weeks before going out on a long hike. Good boots that aren't broken in a bit and formed to your feet will still cause hot spots and blisters.

    You'll want good socks, and will want to change them out fairly regularly, depending on how much you sweat. If you want the skin to fall off your feet, walk around in damp socks or boots all day. I personally like wool blend socks because they wick moisture and help keep my feet dry.

    Depending on where you're going, a GPS might not be necessary. Garmin makes great navigation tools, but you'll have to pay for the subscription while you're out. Even with a GPS, you still want basic topographic knowledge and how to use a compass. Pace tracking is also really important. We used to use Ranger Beads to help keep pace and distance in a way that wasn't reliant on technology. I also have a Garmin Instinct watch that has features to help me retrace my path if I get lost.
     
  4. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    Ayy thanks for the advice y'all. I was able get in about 20 miles this week (3 different trails in 3 days). Other than the humidity which has been suffocating lately I actually felt pretty good at the end of each one (longest being 8.4 miles) so I feel like I'm physically able to do a big multi-day hike. Now I just need to get my navigation & other survival skills to a point where I feel comfortable going out for a trip like that.

    I've got a pretty solid back pack. It could be a bit bigger, but it's very sturdy and made out of waxed canvas so it's decently water proof, and it's comfortable so that's good. I've actually gotten into the habit of packing a bunch of stuff I know I won't need for a single day hike just to get used to moving with a full pack.
    Went to a running shoes store that also stocks hiking boots and had them fit me for some proper footwear. Got a pair of trail running shoes that are light but sturdy for when the weather's nice and a pair of boots when I'll have to cross water or when it starts getting colder.
    Next on the list is something to use for sleeping. While it's warm out & not to rainy I feel like I would be fine with a hammock & mosquito net (light weight & won't take up much room in my bag), but I know I'll want a proper tent & sleeping bag when it gets colder. If anyone has suggestions on that I'm open to anything.

    Next weekend me and my friend are gonna do the same 8.4 Mile trail I did this past week, and then we're gonna do a leg of the Ozark trail (13 miles point to point so 26 round trip) in 2 days probably 3 weeks from now. That particular leg of the trail will take us over taum Sauk mountain (highest point of elevation in Missouri) so that should be a good workout & test of our abilities.

    Honestly, since moving to the city I'd really forgotten how much I appreciated the wilderness. Everytime I get done with a hike, no matter how long it takes or how hot & humid it is I always feel so much better (almost high in a way) compared to before I hit the trail. Been feeling kinda directionless in my life & art lately and I've been looking for a new healthy outlet to help keep my mental health on track, and so far hiking has been a huge help in that regard.
     
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