, pub-5075614835530024, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Hiking Tips for Amateurs | Rocky Mountain Trails | Classically Contemporary

Friday, July 5, 2019

Hiking Tips for Amateurs | Rocky Mountain Trails

Spirit Island Jasper
Maligne Lake, Jasper

It makes me laugh when people say that walking around a city is "exercise". Yes, it's great to use your legs if you can. It's wonderful to keep your joints moving and it's a very eco-friendly way to go from point A to point B. But it definitely does not challenge your body, mind or muscles. You'll quickly realize this if you go hiking, especially if the trail has rugged terrain, intense elevation and if the weather is warm or cold. Hiking in the Rocky Mountains can either be easy, or very challenging! Many options are available. Here are some tips for anyone visiting a National Park to discover new trails by foot.

Hiking Tips for Amateurs - Compiled while exploring the Rocky Mountains

  1. Keep your legs, knees and ankles in good shape before conquering rugged terrain, and know your limits – nothing feels worse than a strained muscle or tendon when you’re hiking day after day. I do ballet barre and boot camp classes for 3 hours a week, which really challenge my stability. Any activities with elevation (treadmill, stepper) and intense core work will be a massive help to improve your strength overall. This is crucial for hiking, since it's not just about the legs.
  2. Wear supportive shoes – no Nikes and flip flops allowed! Not only will street shoes become chewed up by rocks, water and dirt, but you’ll absolutely need reliable ankle support, breathable material, somewhat water-resistant material and great traction for the Rockies. Look for hiking shoes with firm tread and tight laces. In the summer, you won't need full hiking boots for the popular trails. I wore Saucony stability running shoes with a very thick tread and they worked great. So breathable!
  3. Don’t over-plan – look at the forecast the day before (or day-of, for that matter) and ask your concierge or local tour company for advice on which trail to embark on. The rain clouds blow over quick, but you don’t want to run the risk of being struck by lightning in a forest. Always leave wiggle room, and bring a bathing suit and light rain jacket/umbrella with you in case there are surprise swimming holes or hot springs.
  4. Pack great snacks – you’re going to get peckish on a hike so throw a few Cliff bars, a piece of fruit, some trail mix, Goldfish crackers and a generous bottle of water in your backpack to enjoy every minute of the summit. Leave time to sit, relax, soak up the view and re-apply sunscreen while you get ready to head back down the trail.
  5. Wear the right clothes – I had enough top layers packed with me for hiking: sports bra, sweat wicking tanks and tees, cotton and fleece sweaters, lined and unlined windbreakers, etc. But my bottom situation was seriously lacking. I only had leggings and shorts, and the mosquitoes drilled straight through my leggings about 300 times. They also were not warm enough during the cold rainy days. After learning my lesson and catching a minor cold, I purchased some Patagonia hiking pants at a local clothing shop. They’re a cool blue colour and are very convertible with adjustments at the waist and ankles. These can be layered over the aforementioned leggings, and you can lightly mist them with Deet.
  6. Pack the essentials: Bug Spray, Sunscreen, Lip Balm with SPF, Baseball Cap, Sun Glasses, Purell, Glasses Cleaner, Paper Map (no cell reception), Small Towel, Tissues, Pen
  7. I'm just going to say it. You don't need bear spray if you're walking along popular trails. The end.

Hiking Trails in the Rockies

Always remember that the way down has to be easier than the way up ;) it isn’t a race to the top, but it’s also boring to chicken-out if you’re feeling lazy. Push yourself! We need to enjoy nature, and it’s such a gratifying feeling to make it to the top of a beautiful lookout.


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