Just because summer arrives Thursday (at 6:06 a.m.) and the temperature this week already has hit the mid-90s doesn’t mean we’re going to stop hiking. We’re just going to adjust our approach. We’re going to make sure that, for the next three months or so, the majority of our hikes include one of two things:
As the days heat up, you might be tempted to cool it on your hiking habit. But, actually, you can hike all summer long — the secret lies in the when and where. Here are a few tips to keep you on the trail.
Timing is important. Evening is good. So is early morning: Hit the trail at 7 a.m., be done by 11 and you can get in a decent hike before the temperature gets much above 80.
The lower temperatures and splendiferous colors of fall will entice many of us to take longer ventures into the woods in the coming days. This is a wonderful thing, but we want to remind you of a few things that will make your hike more enjoyable.
Eat. Do not look at a 10-mile hike as a crash diet, or crash you will. Just last week, one of our hikers suddenly went weak. Turns out that, in addition to a few other conspiring factors, she’d eaten only a fig bar for breakfast and had only a 16-ounce water bottle for a 5-mile hike in 85-degree heat. Calories are key to getting you down (and up) the trail. And we’re not talking HoHos and Ding Dongs, but the nutrient-rich calories found in whole grains, fruits, and nuts. Have a good breakfast, then pack up a lunch and healthy snacks.
Hydrate. In lower temperatures, when we might not sweat as much, we might think we don’t need as much hydration. Not true! Not drinking water is the fastest, surest way to stall your engine, even on a cool fall day. Some more modest hikers might be averse to drinking water because they don’t want to pee in the woods. But, you should embrace the idea that you’ll be ducking behind a tree once or twice a hike. It’s biology, people.
Here’s the weekend dilemma: you want to get out and experience the snow, but will you be able to get there? And once you get there, can you even get in?
If your destination is Mount Mitchell State Park, the Shining Rock/Middle Prong wilderness areas, or anywhere else along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the answer to the first question is probably not. The entire Parkway, all 469 miles, is essentially closed, mostly due to snow and ice, in parts because of construction. (For the latest BRP status, go here.)