Six Tips for The Traveling Hiker
1. Get in shape.* If you lead a busy, reasonably active life, walk, hike or jog regularly, you’re likely in sufficient shape to embark on a hiking vacation.
2. Satisfy your curiosity. Read up on a region before you go: trails, terrain, regional cuisine, history and traditions.
3. Leave your work at home. Leave those deadlines and stresses behind to clear your head for your hiking experience. Pack your cell phone and even a laptop if you must, but try to catch up on any work duties in the evenings after you’ve taken your hike.
4. Plan a relaxed day just before the hiking begins. Arrive at your destination a day early and take in the local sights at your leisure. In high-altitude destinations, schedule a couple of days to acclimate before the trip begins.
5. Appreciate the unique qualities of your hiking companion(s). Enjoy the pleasure of company and also the opportunity to hike together in companionable silence, sometimes while lost in your own thoughts.
6. Be yourself. Your spirit will be nourished if you honor your routine. Continue your morning stretches, prayer, meditation, yoga, or for that matter two cups of black coffee.
*How fit should I be?
“I’ll get in shape before my hiking vacation” is a better idea than “This hiking vacation will whip me into shape.” An eight-to-twelve week training program of walking several days a week and hiking at least once a week is sure to get you in shape enough to enjoy a hiking oriented vacation. Should you have any doubts about your fitness level, consult with your physician.
Your fitness level should match the number of miles you intend to cover in a day of hiking, in repeated days of hiking, and the difficulty of hikes you intend to take. Once you’re hiking around vacation spot, you can adjust your itinerary: more/fewer hikes or longer/shorter hikes.