WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR HIKE
Although special hiking boots or shoes are a nice commodity, any pair of walking or running shoes will suffice to go on a hiking trail, especially ones with heel support. Most importantly is to keep them comfortable, somewhat malleable and not tight. I once went on a hike wearing Doc Martin boots and on the way down the trail, my toes kept hitting the front portion of the boot. Needless to say that by the time we arrived back at our car, both of my big toenails were purple. It took a while for them to be normal again.
If you hike in cold temperatures, a light down jacket or vest is ideal. For low-temperature winters, the layer concept is recommended, along with thick socks, a warm beanie or aviator-type hat, and an endless scarf; regular scarves need to be managed and interfere with other activities, especially bending down. There are breathable and yet water-proof shells, fuzzy sweaters to go underneath the shell, and wicking shirts with weaved threads that let the body sweat and “wick away moisture” to go underneath the fuzzy layer. Shells can be easily tugged in a small compartment of a backpack or bag, and are only needed in case of rain, intense wind, or as an added layer in case of cold. Gloves can be handy, no pun intended.
For warm days, shorts are great but not preferable depending on the hike terrain. Light capri-length pants are better because of thorny bushes and the occasional bug bites. A t-shirt and a wind-breaker should be enough.
Backpack or Fanny-pack:
A fanny-pack, as ugly as they are (one girl’s opinion), can serve as good storage for small essentials such as ID’s, a local map when GPS is not available, small eatables, especially for those carrying the water-pack on their back. Light backpacks are better, but remember, if you are in a group and not everyone has storage, you will not only hike, but will end up carrying a lot of their stuff.
Last but not least, on this simple list for hikers, always bring a pocket knife. A military-style tactical folding knife is usually the best. If it’s good for the military, then it will be good for the simple hiker. All right, maybe an exaggeration for just an afternoon hike, and also an expensive proposition. A simple pocket-knife will suffice.
Always bring water with you on your hike. Canteens, a simple plastic bottle of water, or the super-duper hydration backpacks that have a bag of water with a tube that acts as a straw. Any of these will be perfect. It is so important to stay hydrated while losing minerals through sweat. Now here is a trick: most water today is depleted of minerals, so add some kind of trace minerals and electrolytes to your water. It will make a huge difference in killing your thirst and helping you feel energized.
No one thinks about this, but a little bit of cayenne pepper, 90,000 heat units, can act as a preventative solution for a few potential scenarios: stopping a heart attack when mixed with a small cup of water and fighting inflammation in case of a cut or bug bite.
PLACES TO GO ON A HIKE
There are trails all throughout the United States, because our Native American ancestors along with the brave Pioneers needed trails to move from one location to another. The same can be said of other countries because people everywhere have needed to be mobile before the comforts of modern transportation. Here are a few generic suggestions for a quick morning or afternoon hike:
Hills. Wherever there are hills, there are trails. Those are the most common types of hikes. Hills are easy to find because they are all around. On flat states, there are always the beautiful cornfields we see in the movies. That is a joke.
Creeks and Lakes. Hiking near or around a lake is an exhilarating experience. Some hiking trails follow a creek, and depending on the region can end up in beautiful waterfalls.
Cliffs Near the Ocean. Okay, these are my favorite hiking locations. The beautiful ocean views are motivation enough to keep on going. One time, I got to see a pack of whales playing in the sea water from the top of the cliff.
Forests. There are various types of forests, the most common being tropical and coniferous. A hike in any of these forests, on a well known trail, will provide enough oxygen to make one feel renewed and refreshed.
Deserts. Desert hills, although dry and, depending on the season, very hot, are also challenging and are not for the fainted of heart. These hikes require attention to detail to enjoy the scenery.
HOMEMADE TREATS TO TAKE ON YOUR HIKE
Trail Mix (no joke):
- get organic nuts: walnuts and almonds are the best; pecans are second on the list, but add a delicious flavor
- add sweetness with a few organic raisins, dates, and coconut flakes
- if you want a little extra yumminess, throw in some carob chips — caution: these are messy in hot weather.
One small bag of this delicious trail mix will keep the energy-level high. They don’t call it “trail” mix for nothin’.
- these are sugar-free and still have a lot of flavor! For sweetness, you can add a bit of birch xylitol (birch only, not corn—The Ultimate Life is the best brand)
- 1/2 cup of cocoa butter and 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 1/4 cup of honey, 1/2cup of raw cacao powder, 1 cup of coconut flakes, vanilla to taste, and 1 cup of whey protein
- melt the cocoa butter in a small pan over low heat, add the coconut oil, honey, cacao powder, and vanilla, and stir well, then add the whey protein
- pour into a parchment paper lining a 9×3 baking dish and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer. Cut into squares and enjoy
These provide tremendous amounts of energy and are also very delicious!
You can also see our recipe for Sneakers Bars! Warning: Although delicious, they can get messy in warm temperatures.