Category: Conditioning

Posts about getting ready physically and mentally

More Advice for Beginning Hikers

Let’s talk about other considerations for you beginning hikers. Start watching my YouTube video where I discuss a variety of issues about where to hike, how long, inviting friends, having fun, and good shoes!

Speaking of shoes – Like all gear, there are a plethora of options. I started by way overdoing it with a heavy pair of waterproof (and expensive) boots. While they were comfortable, I developed a serious knee problem that stemmed from the weight and high ankle structure that over restricted the flexibility of my ankle, thereby stressing my knees. Other hiking boots would also destroy toenails!

After looking at reviews and talking with experienced hikers, it seemed the Altra Lone Peak was a favorite. (And they leave a cute little footprint on the trail!) Once I switched, I’ve never gone back. Loved for their lightweight and comfortability, after 1700 miles in 4 years I’m on my sixth pair! (Hint: I wear 1.5-2 sizes larger than normal shoes that keep my toenails intact.)

Other favorites are Hoka, Soloman and Merrell However I have no personal experience with those. Does anybody have comments about their favorite hiking shoes?

Atra Lone Peak 5 – Check out the lugs
on these babies!

Advice for Beginning Hikers

Graduate From Neighborhood Walks to Trail Hikes

While grand plans for a long-distance hike are exciting and fun to contemplate, not everyone is cut out. Or are you? Maybe you just don’t know it yet!

If you think even walking is beyond your capabilities, stop thinking that way! Walking, hiking or backpacking – is a matter of mindset. You either desire to do it or not! So what is it?

If it’s YES, then how do you proceed? First things first, if this is entirely new to you or you haven’t been walking, check with your doctor. Make sure to clear any of your concerns with the doctor, explaining what your plans are. 

For beginners, a hike can be as simple as a walk in your neighborhood or park. It’s where you start if this is all new. Don’t overdo it at first, even if you can only walk to the corner and back. Be consistent. Your body is an amazing machine and will respond to the demands placed on it. 

My husband for example: At age 70, at the beginning of Covid in 2019, decided to walk. At first, it was once around the block. He gradually built up to add a second block, then a third and fourth. I could tell he was even increasing his speed. He now walks 45 minutes every day and has dropped 30 pounds! While he has no grand plan to join me backpacking, he continues his daily walk. I’m so proud of his accomplishment!

To increase your skill, find an unpaved trail with a more challenging tread. Something with uneven ground or rocks & branches to step over. If necessary, get a pair of trekking poles to help with stability. Even experienced backpackers like myself continue to enjoy the added security of “4 legs!” For help finding trails in your area try the AllTrails App. It describes the difficulty level, how long, and elevation gain.

Next week I’ll touch on other ways to prepare not only physically but mentally for hiking and especially long-distance backpacking.

Many of these are items I use personally and others are recommendations if you are starting out building your 10 Essentials. You should also know that “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” 

Getting Stronger

How many of you  feel frustrated when out on a trail, and it seems EVERYONE  is passing you? 

When you have to stop often to catch your breath and hope your heart will not explode? When your hiking partners patiently wait for you at the top of the hill? (Not Fair! They get to rest when it’s ME that needs a rest!)
Will I ever get strong enough to keep up?
Let me tell you…it IS possible….but it’s gonna take some work! If you’ve read previous posts, you know that my husband won a month long membership to a gym that specializes in SPARTAN TRAINING! Whoa! Yeah…not his kind of thing! But I jumped on it and began my journey to GET STRONGER!
I have to say that it was a bit intimidating to walk in the facility. But the staff was so caring and encouraging, that I began to feel that this won’t be too bad afterall. Learning my gluts for all practical purposes were nonexistent was a blow. I am assured that will be remedied. So what about weight loss? Endurance? All goals to be accomplished if I am to do some serious hiking or better yet, backpacking.
So the journey began. It was no surprise that all the same trail frustrations manifested in the gym. How in the world do these people do it? They’re doing 20 reps to my 8. Hmmm okay, take heart that I could do 8! I find myself huffing and puffing and having to sit out a bit for the heart to settle down and for breathing to return to semi-normal!
After the month was up, I couldn’t believe the difference in myself. Achy joints were no longer an issue. Amazing! Endurance up – yes, but still a long way to go. Frustration level? Oh yeah, that’s still there, but not like at first. I see other women working through the class, some better than me, some the same. Lesson learned is accept where I am and keep working. It gets better!
These classes aren’t for sissies. But while i admit I hate the class (yeah – it’s hard and not all that fun) I like the result.
How do I know things are improving? A 5 mile loop through Whiting Ranch, including Dreaded Hill, took three hours last August. Last week, the same loop took me 2.5 hours!
I’m Getting Stronger!



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