The official hiking season for the Sun Lakes Hiking Club is November 1 through April 30, and it’s right around the corner. Here’s what you need to know.
Preparation is key to successful hiking. To begin with, you can maximize your physical ability to hike by committing to an exercise routine that includes both pre- and post-hike stretching, endurance-building, leg and core exercises and flexibility training. Some good resources detailing targeted exercise can be found by searching online. One resource to check out is http://www.pchikers.org/documents/HikeBook.pdf.
Next, you’ll want to gather the appropriate gear. Hiking boots or shoes are a must. SLHC members endorse several different brands; it’s really a matter of personal preference. A good aid to selecting the right pair of hiking boots can be found at https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/hiking-boots.html. Wearing wool socks in those boots is highly recommended. If you’re going to get a boot from REI and aren’t in any particular rush then you can see if there is going to be one of their garage sales in the near future to save yourself some money. If you go to the outdoor sale, you’ll be able to get a bunch of equipment you need for a fraction of its normal price – it’s just a matter of finding out when the next one is.
Find a hat that will protect you from the sun. Most outdoor sporting goods stores will have a variety from which to choose. You’ll want a pair of lightweight long pants that can be rolled up, in case you need to cool off. Layering is the best way to dress for a morning or afternoon of hiking. A t-shirt made of wicking material worn underneath a long-sleeved lightweight shirt or pullover, and maybe even a vest, will be sufficient for most fall hiking days.
Add the mandatory water container to your pile of necessities. Again, hikers have their favorites, and a common one is the bladder-type back pack, sometimes known by its brand name, Camelbak. Other companies offer similar products, and they all function in much the same way. What’s nice is that these water bladders are hands-free, allowing you to easily access water through a tubular mouthpiece.
Many hikers use trekking poles or hiking/walking sticks. The beauty of these is that they aid in balance and provide leverage when ascending and/or descending trails. For a guide to selecting trekking poles, go to https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/topics/camping-and-hiking/best-trekking-poles/buying-advice.
Assuming you’ve collected your hiking equipment, footwear and apparel, the next step is to attend either the Open House at Cottonwood on October 13 from 9:00 a.m. to noon or the Open House at Oakwood on October 27, also from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Talk with one of the representatives from the Sun Lakes Hiking Club about all the club has to offer and how you can join. Each week of the hiking season, SLHC members are afforded a variety of hikes at different skill levels from which to choose.
Scheduled hikes are described on the Sun Lakes Hiking Club’s website, meetup.com/sun-lakes-hiking-club. Even though the season is currently closed, hiking continues unofficially on some mornings during October. If you are interested in early fall hiking, please contact Stu Frost by emailing him at [email protected]
And remember… Preparation + SLHC Membership = A Great Hiking Season!