I want to hike. Well that’s not true. We are having a heat wave! If the weather was cooler I would definitely like to go. So what is the problem? I have a booboo! Actually I have several injuries. Hiking just isn’t in the cards right now.
So today I am going to talk about Fat Chick hiking, one of my favorite sports! There is nothing like getting into the woods, hearing the breeze in the trees, smelling the tree bark and pine needles and watching the sunshine dance through the leaves. Yep, I’m a big tree hugger followed closely by a babbling brook … babbler? Splishsplasher? Hmm.
So what does a Fat Chick need to know before she runs off into the woods during hot weather?
How to save your feet for use later!
- Get some cushy hiking socks. Any outdoor store will have them. Think about where the hunters go to get those camouflage jackets. I get my socks at Mountain Equipment Co-op. You can also layer socks with a synthetic liner sock inside and a wool sock pulled over it. The wool absorbs the moisture and the synthetic sock keeps it away from your foot. If it is a long hike bring a second pair of socks. They don’t take up much room in your pack and are a nice treat to put on half way through your hike.
- If you are prone to blisters get some anti-chafing or anti-blister product to put on your feet. You can put it any place else you are likely to get chaffing. I like to use a light application on my feet. Otherwise I feel like I am slipping around in my foot wear. I use BodyGlide which I get from the Running Room. You can get something similar at most athletic shops.
- Hiking boots!!!!! Please no sandals, flip flops or cheap running shoes. You will fall! You will get very dirty! If you are with other people, they do not want to wait for you to clear the pebbles from your shoes every 5 minutes. There is often poison ivy, plants with barbs, mosquitos, ticks (lime disease) and dog dirt. Ok, fine you can wear running shoes that have a good tread. I’m just saying that even on that inner city paved trail it is not unusual to find broken down, washed out sections or detours through the mud and rocks, even the occasional downed tree that has to be climbed over.
What to wear!
Everybody thinks they know what the proper attire is for hiking and yet when I am on a trail more than half the people have wardrobe problems.
- Did you know that some trails actually have signs that say “If you have cotton on, go back now!”? Light weight cotton is fine for a short hike but on longer hikes it holds moisture and invites chafing, blisters and over-heating. If it rains or gets cold you could be at risk for hypothermia even in the summer as your wet clothes will not dry. Even on a short warm weather hike it can get very unpleasant if you fall in a stream wearing jeans and then have to walk to the nearest exit.
- I know it sucks but, consider wearing long sleeves and long pants. You will have protection from bugs (particularly ticks), poison ivy, scrapes, dirt and tree sap. Nylon pants repel rain and dry quickly although I hate to listen to them(swish, swish, swish). I wear Sport Hill synthetic pants. They are stretchy so I can move properly. They are a little bit forgiving on showing the bumps and bulges and they are indestructible. If it is really hot I wear synthetic shorts from Team Estrogen or Junonia. My tops are synthetic and anti-microbial from Junonia. You can get clothing that has wicking properties as well to keep you cool.
- The best underwear is a blend of polyester and lycra. Same for the bra. The underwear is the piece of clothing other than socks that can really make a hike miserable so spend the extra money on the right fabric.
- Bring a rain resistant jacket that breathes. A lot of people like Gore Tex a few wear nylon which I am not a fan of. It leaks too easily in the rain and doesn’t breath enough for me when it is warmer. Nylon does dry fast. On a hot day you may not think you need a jacket but if you get wet and there is any wind you can get very cold.
Gee, I guess I am passionate about hiking. This article is going on forever and I have hardly started on the topic. Well how about if we stop here and have a part two?