The Most Clueless Girl's Intro to Hiking
Yes, it's me... The most clueless of girls when it comes to this topic. Now, this may rock your world, as all your preconceived notions of me will be altered but I have taken up hiking. Now most of you may know that I do my best hiking through Nordstrom, but being near the mountains and attempting to embrace a more active lifestyle I wanted to start adventuring through the Rocky Mountains.
Now, this is by no means a comprehensive guide, and I’m not even sure I can call it a guide. But I thought I would outline what I did to prepare for my first hike. Now some of you are probably like:
“strap on some shoes and go for a walk ya dingo”.
But I generally enjoy doing a little (or a lot) of research before diving into new things. So…. Here we go!
Where the heck should I go?
So I had lofty dreams.
I wanted to throw myself into this endeavor by choosing a hike that “babies” wouldn’t do. Smart? Probably not. Something I would absolutely do? Oh heck yes.
At first our plan was to do Johnson Canyon, which is paved most of the way and is generally a pretty nice place to begin. But when we went to pick up some last minute gear we received a recommendation from Tyler, the adorable salesperson, that we should try Mount Yamnuska. We looked the hike up and it was an intermediate hike that has gorgeous views and would be about 7km.
Honestly I was sold when Tyler told us that he ate lunch with a cloud. WITH A CLOUD PEOPLE!
Here are some things you should look for when planning your first day hike. Maybe don’t be like me and be taken in by the opportunity to eat in the clouds.
When selecting a hike assess your comfort and fitness level. Then look into 3 things:
- Length of the hike: Look at doing hikes that are a few kilometers. If you are a touch out of shape, like I am maybe thinking I could take on 7km was a little ambitious. Over time you will be able to take on more distance and acclimate to hiking at different elevations. This isn’t your regular 5km run.
- Elevation Gain: The steepness of a trail can make it far more difficult to not only move, but I find it can be more difficult to breathe as the air gets thinner (science!)
- Trail Conditions: Is the trail a popular tourist destination and paved? Or is it more of a hidden gem and you are going to be walking a trail that has only been marked by other’s feet? How has the weather been, will you be walking through mud, will it rain? These are all things you should look into before embarking on your hike because then you will have a rough idea of what you should expect and what you might need to pack
What the heck should you bring?
- Clothes: dress in layers. I wore a sports bra and then generally a long sleeve, breathable shirt with leggings, and hiking socks. Now go get yourself some merino wool hiking socks like the pair linked at the bottom of the post, you'll thank me!
- Extra clothes: I packed a light, waterproof jacket, extra socks and underwear, and a toque.
- Emergency kit: Better to be safe than sorry, a little first aid kit, matches or a lighter, a small army type knife with other bits and bobs and gadgets. .
- Personal Items: This is where I failed, when we got to the intermediate trail I looked at my fella and said "oh dear god, what if I have to use the lavatory?". Don't be a fool Timmy, take Kleenex, toilet paper, SPF, bug spray, and some lip chap.
- Hiking Boots: Do your research beforehand. I spent a few hours reading blogs and reviews to find that type of shoes/boots I would need. I'll link the boots I purchased below! Also if you are researching your trail beforehand, you'll get a good idea of the shoes you will require for the hike. This weekend at Johnson Canyon I just wore running shoes with really good grip!
- Hiking Pack: Some people may want to get fancy with this, but I literally brought my donut backpack. Just have two straps and a sturdy bag..
- Cell Phone: This will double as your camera and your in case of emergency access to civilization. It will also provide messages from your parents making fun of you and giving you great advice like how to not be the slowest person when outrunning a bear.
Food and Water
Day hikes generally will only require a simple picnic type lunch; pack things that are easy to assemble or require no assembly at all! Pack a soft cooler with an ice packet and pack food in reusable containers because most hikes won’t have garbage cans.
- Trail Mix
- Granola Bars: Maybe something with peanut butter for protein
- Fruits/Veggies: Apples, bananas, dried fruit, etc.
- Cheese & Crackers
- Deli Meat: Salami, sausage, etc.
Most of all remember to be safe and have fun! Honestly I am so pleased that this is something I have decided to take up, and I think we will attempt to go once a week for the Summer! Check out my Instagram for more photos and my Instagram stories for whats happening at the moment! Click the photos below to shop!