When taking on your first mountain, the task at hand can seem daunting. You may wonder if you will be able to make it up the mountain, or if it will hurt. Then again you might worry that you won’t reach the summit, and you will have to turn back, defeated.
From many years of hiking I have found that the feeling of success and peace does not only come from the summit of the mountain, but rather from the journey. There is just something about following a twisting, boulder filled trail through the woods that is completely surreal.
To me it’s not just about summiting, but rather it’s about hiking smart. Even still there are mountains that I have decided to turn around, the most recent being Mount Washington in New Hampshire this past January. I bailed only a half a mile from the summit due to safety concerns.
When taking on your first mountain there are a few things among many you should keep in mind:
It doesn’t matter how slow you hike. Hiking is all about the experience, and about pushing YOUR limits (not focusing on others abilities). You don’t have to worry about how another hiker may have passed you, or reached the summit an hour before you. There is only one grade in climbing: you summit or you don’t.
Hike Smart. When hiking, you must keep in mind that you need be prepared, listen to your body and you need to be aware of your surroundings. When packing for a 4 hour hike make sure to bring at least 2L of water, and food with at least a total of 1500 Calories. Bring layers; even if at the base of the mountain is 80 degrees. There was a time when the base of the mountain was 85 degrees Fahrenheit in August, and the summit was 32 degrees. To see more about what to pack see our blog ‘What should I bring?’
You need to listen to your body. If you start feeling lightheaded, take a breather and sit for a while. If you start having shooting pains, and you are physically hurting yourself, turn back. Eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty.
Make sure to drink water and eat every hour. The average hiker burns about 400 calories an hour. To keep up your energy you must replace these calories. To help determine how much water to bring and drink per hour visit this website.
Have fun with it. The hardest part of hiking is committing. So pick a day, a mountain and a time to start, and stick to it. Pack the night before, and tell someone where you plan to hike. Just realize that the fun is in the journey. Once you’re out there the next time will be easier. Just relax, breathe in the fresh mountain air and enjoy your time away from civilization.
For more questions about hiking feel free to contact 46 Climbs by commenting on our webpage or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.