I have a down to earth philosophy toward hiking and backpacking.
I love this activity for a several reasons:
1. You don’t have to have a lot of money to do it.
2. You don’t have to have specialized gear.
My first hike of 2011 was Ruckel Creek. We didn’t get to our destination because of the ice, snow and cold weather, and when we turned around to come back down the hill (about 2000 ft elevation), my tennis shoes were slipping and sliding. I took a couple of spills. So I decided to purchase a new pair of hiking boots specifically for getting better traction and protection in snow and ice. I will get to try them out on Tuesday (if we can get to the Grouse vista trailhead for Silver Star)
I may have to purchase a new day pack this year, although I will improvise if necessary. There are a number of ways to haul your stuff without a fancy pack.
3. You don’t have to be in shape. (But it helps!)
I have to smile when I read about getting your base pack weight down, not because weight isn’t important, but because the base weight I have to work on isn’t in my pack. Last November I was nearly 100 pounds overweight, yet still doing some decent day hikes throughout the year. It wasn’t easy hauling all that weight up and down the steep trails in the Columbia River Gorge. And I dream of doing the John Muir Trail, the Pacific Northwest Trail, or even the PCT! Looks like it will be important to get my “base weight” down.
So, I read a book called “Die Fat or Get Tough” by Steve Siebold and started to change my thiking. This is a no-holds-barred, no-punches-pulled, politically-incorrect, straight-talking book about taking responsibility for weight, making a decision to follow a diet (or, as I like to call it, a “strategic eating plan”), and sticking to your decision. I lost close to 10 pounds before I actually selected a specific diet to follow. I’m now down almost 30 pounds with the knowledge that I will, one day in the not-so-distant future, be at the weight I need to be. A close friend of mine is encouraging me, since he wants me to climb Mt Adams with him near the end of summer.
The bottom line for me is “Just get out there and do it!!” I continually ask myself: “How much can I do with what I’ve got?” My goal is always to do a little bit more.