Experienced Hiking: Tips And Advice Essay

1214 words - 5 pages

The definition of experienced may take many forms. To one, it might be having many years under one’s belt. To another, it could be hiking many peaks in a short amount of time, increasing hours spent on the trails, but not longevity in the activity. An experienced hiker constitutes both of these, both longevity and peaks covered. In any activity, repetition means experience and practice, and hiking is no different. To hike, one must follow an almost religious regiment, keeping calorie intake in the 3000’s, and fitness at optimum level. One also must keep a steady level of hydration if one wishes to combat the heat of the Arizona sun. Even if not in heat, the amount of energy one is expending during a hike is on the order of magnitudes, and the hiker must be wary of overexertion. Knowing one’s limits when hiking comes with experience, and experience is gained through repetition of the activity.
Proper hydration, or lack of it, is another important factor in experienced hiking. Symptoms of dehydration that one should be wary of whilst out on the trails or backpacking includes a dry mouth, dizziness or lightheadedness, and a headache. The amount of water needed per person varies from individual to individual, but from personal experience, carrying a 2 liter bladder of water for a 3-4 hour morning hike is acceptable. Time of day is also an important factor in water consumption as well. Out in Arizona heat, it would be optimal to consume more water in midday or early afternoon than it would be in early morning or late afternoon, where temperatures are much cooler. If I were to exercise for 60 minutes, based off of my body weight (130lbs) and environmental conditions (hot and dry), it would be wise for me to consume about three liters of water over the course of the day to replace what I have lost. But, in the morning when it is a lot cooler, based off the same variables, I should only drink around 2 liters. An effect that one must be wary of though is a condition called hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is “an illness that mimics the early symptoms of heat exhaustion. It is the result of low sodium in the blood caused by drinking too much water and losing too much salt through sweating.” Although this can cross over with nutrition, one should be careful to also eat whilst hiking, as eating salty foods on the trail is equally important.
Just like getting a car from point A to point B takes a specific amount of energy (provided by gas), one’s body requires a specific amount of energy to get from point A to point B. “Using some physics and math, we could actually calculate how much energy it would take to get you, a 150 pound hiker with a 15 pound backpack, from the trailhead of Mount Whitney at 8,360 feet, to the summit at 14,494 feet… and venture at a reasonable 1800 calories required for this feat.” Although it may have only taken 1800 calories to get up that mountain, one actually burns a lot more energy during that hike. Each person has “Basal Metabolic...

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