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beginner needs info and encouragement
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i need help
“okay, beyond knowing how to walk and a newfound passion for getting out and doing so I know so little about how and where. While I live in Wis. I fell in love with the red rocks in Sedona Az a few years ago and want to be in much better shape for my next trip also want to enjoy all that the midwest has to offer in the way of hiking. The John Muir Trail is my current fantasy, truly considering next aug. Anyone who can encourage, educate me has my heartfelt thanks.”
“Welcome to Trail Talk! There must be someone here from your area to help you out with specifics on trails, etc... As far as basics go, get yourself a good pair of boots that fit nice and snug, some good hiking socks, (regular socks will only help give blisters) a pack, tent, a sleeping bag, stove and some raingear- You're all set to head out. If you need specifics on any of these, check out the older threads or feel free to ask. Plenty of helpful people here, but here's the warning- Have some thick skin, there's some animals in here.”
“Walk regularly. There are lots of hiking clubs and most are made up of grannies and gramps.”
“bacpac's big on regularity. take some fiber-con with you at all times.....”
“Try The Sierra Club, or the American Hikeing Society, or local outfitters for hands on classes and meeting people. That would be a good way to compare equipment and learn how to use it.
In the meantime hang out here, and join a TT Trip.”
“Where in Wisconsin? I used to live in Wisconsin. Might be able to offer suggestions for some weekends--granted it won't be Sedona, but will offer some great hikes and views.”
“hikinggramma, do we dare ask how old you might be? Cuz we have grammas on here from age 40 on up. Would give us a little better idea on advice, maybe. I live in NE Iowa... am about 50 miles from Prairie du Chien, WI. How far away are you from Prairie? (as Crazy Mike would say, Prairie of the Chicken... whata dork!! lol)”
“I thought it was prairie dog.
What do I know? CMB rules!
Welcome gramma. We have gramps too. Keep the wheels moving or lose them, that's how it works on our end of life.
The advice so far is fine. We try to stay loose and goofy. More fun that way. You'll find there are trails all over the place, from very close to far away. The ones far away are more esoteric and interesting than the ones up close, that seems to be the usual case. So use what you have at hand for day hikes, overnighters, and whatever else suits your needs. Plan longer trips to the more interesting places.
Lizs will keep you straight, even if she does come from Iowa.”
“yup, Geo, it's Prairie of the Dog. Some Indian chief had that name, I believe. No, there weren't prairie dogs!”
“Well the chiefy musta spoke French!”
“wow such quick response, i'm very impressed. i'm 53, overweight out of shape but truly determined that the last half of my life will be my own to cut loose and have some fun. too responsible and sensible too long!! live very near Appleton have been walking 3-4 times weekly for the last 2 months or so , mostly on a neat little hill called Mosquito Hill. sometimes you do have just what you need right in your own back yard. Have a day trip planned to Newport State park in Door Co. next week. Thanks for all your posting,”
“Only 53? Sheesh, you're just a kid!
In the immortal words of Satchel Paige, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."”
“Couple spots outside your door for day hikes. High Cliff State Park on the northeast end of Lake Winnebago, has some nice trails.
Also, Hartman Creek State Park between Waupaca and Steven's Point. Hartman's has lots of trails. The campground is heavily used during the summer, but some of the trails will get you away from the people.
Couple thoughts for starters.”
“lets see... first do a lot of walking, day hike's and get your shoes in order. then add a shirt of capilene or dri-clime(?) type and some non-cotton pants/shorts...
( remember... cotton kills!)
(good time to start that rei membership :})
try out a few items somewhere here like a hydration system and trekking poles. (ski poles) Dont forget to carry a basic emergency kit!
ok by this point the bug will have bitten and you may want to go overnights. try a car-camp trip first at a park with lots of trails to day hike. also check out the lightweight hiking sites and threads along long with the gear threads. for a first foray into the outback try to find a partner and plan a low-mileage trip (staying at a shelter works well). Rent the gear rather then buying!
there is no cure for the ensuing addictions that will follow past this point. Nor wiil you easily replace the mind your about to lose... It will be ok, nothing will replace the peace and beauty of the trail and you wont mind the insanity that comes with it.
WELCOME. feel free to ask for help on specific topics and if you ever need encouragement on the trail just find a nice log, sit and listen awhile.”
“DOM - I think I would disagree about starting with car camping - tends to get one into bad habits in terms of weight. What I would recommend is to get appropriate footwear (may not be boots - I prefer trail runners plus superfoot insoles) with hiking socks (ie wool) and to borrow a pack. Start figuring out what you might want to put in the pack and toss it in or just make a guess as to the weight of stuff you don't have yet and toss in equivalent weight. Then wear the pack on all training hikes (ie up mozzie hill there) until it feels comfortable. Learn to adjust the pack during this time - it may be that the pack you borrow can not be adjusted to be comfortable - if so borrow a different pack if possible - otherwise go to a local outfitter and get fitted for a pack and see what works there - take all your gear/weights to try in the pack. If the local outfitter is reasonable buy the pack that you like - if you don't really like any go to a different outfitter and fit/buy a pack there.
Anywasy once you have shoes, socks and pack start accumulating the rest of the hiking gear slowly - avoid anything cotton and try to go as minimalist as possible especially in the area of cooking equipment - check out alcohol or esbit stoves and use as small a single pot as you can to fit the food you plan on cooking. Go with aluminum or titanium for the pot - avoid stainless steel. Practice cooking out back of the house or go on a lot of picnics - when comfortable with the stove choice always carry it with your pack along with a meal to cook then on some of your longer trainig hikes pull it out and cook a meal.
As for shelter a tent is not the only choice - check out a hammock as another possibility if the areas you are backpacking have trees or consider a tarp/bug bivy combo instead of a tent. Again take it on your training hikes, set it up, crawl in and try it out for a nap. Your next piece of equipment will probably be some sort of a sleeping pad and sleeping bag - if you can stand the weight use a Thermarest LE if you plan on using a tend or tarp.
To help with the hiking I would recommend a set of treking poles or the low tech equivalent a couple hiking sticks with wrist straps.”
“True hog , the car-camp does tend to lend some bad habits but.... a misteak is easier to deal with when shelter and transport are close by and perhaps not as traumatic an introduction to the real world.”
“53 here also and plan to bp for a long time. Lot's of us here!
Lots of good advice above. Finding someone with experience to go out with and learn from is the best thing you could do.
If you are interested in the John Muir Trail, watch the threads and also consider contacting Melanie Garside ("Mel").
I know two women who are finishing the JMT one week at a time...one is nearly 80 and the other is between 65-70.”
“you guys are great! couple a questions, rei membership? what's that all about. three weeks ago i bought a pair of merrell chameleon hiking boots and a pair of therlo socks, i thought it made an immediate difference in especially some very slight achiness in my right foot (after a few miles or so), but thought maybe that was overkill for what i am actually doing (hiking ) at this point, but still they do feel good, any thought on how appropriate these boots may be for January in Sedona? thanks again”
“Problem going tentless in Wisconsin are skeeters! They're almost as big as the state bird!”
“they are the state bird by some accounts, now west nile virus is upon us as well”
“I also work at a newspaper in Minnesota (ya see, I'm very "tri-state-ish" here.. lol) we has one vet reporting over 35 cases in horses in Fillmore County. Course, it's a big county WITH a large AMISH population. Lotsa horses and lotsa birds on Amish farms. I just did a story on it last week.”
“Well, it took hikinggramma exactly 20 posts to degrade her own thread and get it off topic. LOL!! (well, yes, I aided in the effort) hehee”
“Find some way to carry about thirty pounds......borrow or buy a pack that fits and carries well.
I take my favorite rucksack to a county park and hump the hills.
Most of the weight is water jugs.
Stomp, guzzle and sweat!!!
In between walking the woods find a place with stairs.
I'm using a five-story parking garage....UP one corner and across the deck to another corner and DOWN.......repeat until you drop.
The more you sweat on the "practice-field", the less "dying" you'll do on the "battle-field".”
“Hikinggrandma - I live in Green Bay and work in Greenville - right by the airport. We are getting into the best weather in right now in Wisconsin - the mosquitoes are gone abd it is not too cold yet. Lot of people here in humid Wisconsin prefere the external packs and as hogonice said stay away from cotton clothing. I have not been to Newport State Park yet - but I have been to Rock Island and the Nicolet National Forest alot. There are alot of backpacking oppertunites in Wisconsin - let us know how your trip goes - do you have reservations ?”
“Adjust your diet. 90% of weight gain can be controlled with diet.”
“Hikinggrandma, I was where you are, last summer (except being 10 years younger, which isn't much really). It was a bit overwhelming all the gear available and being touted as the best, etc.
Make a wish list of things that you think that you want, check them out in the store, do a search on here for the item incase it has been discussed (search on brand name and generic gear type) and ask questions about the item. You can buy a lot of stuff that isn't that helpful if you aren't careful with your research and lists.
Personally I think that if you have a nice campground nearby, use it as a test ground for backpacking. Pack like you are backpacking, dayhike like you are backpacking, but since you have your car, a forgotten item won't cause serious trouble. With some experience, then move to a real backpacking trip. When you get your strength built up, try to join group trips whenever possible. That is a great place to learn more about backpacking and to see gear in action.
As far as losing weight, don't even get me started. I get aggravated, but mostly I focus on eating healthy and building up my strength and endurance, figuring that at some point my metabolism will kick into a higher gear. I also believe in taking lots of vitamins and minerals. Vit C, Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, Chromium and Potassium as well as amino acid groups seem to be involved in converting fat cells into energy. B vitamins are good too for mental energy.”
“My $.02 worth is to get to the gym, do the cardio machines. My favorite is the stair mill, similar to walking up a down escalator. May need to work up to that via a treadmill and eliptical trainer. Then do a few short hikes and work up from there. He11, in no time at all you'll be doing a rim to rim, or rim3.”
“90% of weight gain can be controlled with diet."
Gee, rosey, that's really profound...”
“he's a smart one!”
“I hate gyms.”
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