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Archive for the ‘Baselayers’ Category

Wast Water Lake, Wasdale Head

As we enter Gosforth, Nether Wasdale and then Wasdale Head, I could tell this area was majestic.  The narrow roads, country homes, green grass,  Wast Water Lake and mountains made this a very special place. We decided to check out the start of Scafell Pike hike and get our bearings and the lay of the land. The next day we hiked the mountain. There is an outdoor store next to Wasdale Head Inn in case you need any supplies ie. map, gloves, toque etc.

The Summit - Cold, windy and foggy

The weather had improved from the day before so we were hoping to have a view at the top. The route we took was from 2nd parking lot, over the bridge , Lingmell Gill, Brown Tongue, Hollow Stones and then up to Scafell Pike. The research and planning for the hike was dead on and there were no surprises.  We added an extra layer for the top along with toque & gloves.  Glad we did, it was quite cold & very windy at the summit. A cloud came in during the last section of the hike so we had no view.

A few cows joined the descent of Scafell Pike

My nephew and I did the hike in 4.5 hours and that included all the photo stops along the way which were many. With Ben Nevis & Scafell Pike hiked, only one UK 3 Peaks mountain left – Snowdon to complete. Highly recommended the Strands Inn & Brewery for accommodations in Nether Wasdale as well for  their great food and pub.

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Deuter Futura 28 AC Daypack

Deuter Futura 28 AC Daypack

With the 2011 Hike the Highlands festival starting in less than a week, it is important to have your checklist ready for hiking so you pack your daypack  and enjoy the day hiking,

1) Weather reports – always check the weather reports before you start out hiking for the day. You can then pack & dress according – ie rain gear, suncreen, etc.

2)  Equipment for daypack  – sunscreen, sunglasses,  digital camera with extra batteries and card, whistle, hat,  jacket, water (2 bottles), snacks, lunch, extra pair of hiking socks, ziplock bags for garbage, insect repellent, small first aid kit, maps of trail(s). For day hikes, 4-6 hours long, you should have a daypack that is 20 plus litres.

3) Other equipment – hiking boots, hiking/trekking poles, gaiters,  watch, temperature gauge, baselayer, midlayer -fleece jacket.

Hiking Tip – A friend of mine takes a cold facecloth with her on those hot days to wipe her forehead and cool her down. She keeps the facecloth in a ziplock bag.

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Hiking in the Rain

Despite some hot weather recently, the 2011 summer, has been a mixture of rain, showers, drizzle and fog. Here are 5 tips to help you hike in the rain :

1)  Equipment – a) daypack with a rain cover. If your daypack doesn’t
have one, invest in one,  b) rain gear – pants & jacket, c) gaiters – great for
keeping grass and branches from scratching or irritating your legs plus
water from entering your boots after the rain stops, d) goretex or
waterproof hiking boots to keep your feet dry, e) Poles – trekking or hiking poles will help you with your balance in wet conditions and cross in
streams or wet areas. They will also be great in ascending and descenting
hills or mountains.

2)  To be on the safe side put all your items in your daypack in clear       ziplock  bags or different colored small drybags. 

3) Clothes –  a) wear a base layer – merino wool or polyster – it wicks the
moisture away from your skin. Do not wear cotton,  b) Have a mid-    layer with you – polyster or fleece jacket. Put on for any long stops or    breaks especially on high elevation.  ie. lunch or snacks.  c) wear smart    wool socks or liners with other socks on top. They will wick the     moisture away from your skin …helps avoid any blisters or hotspots.   Always carry an extra pair of socks in your daypack and blister kit, d) wear waterproof or water resistant  gloves to keep your hands warm.

4) Ventilation – Rain gear is not always breathable even though it says so
on the label. . Often you get wet from condensation inside the jacket.  Important to open zippers under armpits for ventilation as well open the
zipper on the front. b) Important  to open t and zippers on your base-
layer and mid-layer to allow you to cool-down.

5)  Drink water and eat food ….you will need your energy while hiking in
the rain.,. Body & outside temperatures changes require more energy
while hiking and staying warm.

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A tough year ahead for hiking boots

The year 2011 can be declared the year of hiking challenges in the Cape Breton Highlands.  Here are just a few below :

1) The Cape Breton Highlands National Park celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2011 has issued a 75 km hiking challenge from May to October.  You cannot hike on the same trail more than once.

2)  The 2nd annual Cape Breton Highlands 3 Peaks Challenge is back in 2011 on July 16th. Teams of 4 our are are required to hike 3 mountains in one day. The 3 peaks in 2011 are Franey, Roberts Mountain and Acadien.  Only 15 teams can register.

3) Hike Nova Scotia has a new hiker distance award program patterned off the Hike the Highlands festival but longer distances spread out over a year – 150, 250 and 500 km.

4) And finally the Hike the Highlands Festival Hiker Distance award program, now in its third year – 25, 50 and 100 km to be completed during the festival – Sept. 9-18, 2011.

We should be in great shape for the winter for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and other winter sports. Maybe Santa will bring us a new pair of hiking boots for Christmas and the 2012 hiking season.

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Jack Pine, Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Generally, the Victoria Day weekend is the start of the hiking season in the Cape Breton Highlands area for many hikers. You can expect wet conditions, some windfalls, cold temps, winds and much more. Here are some tips to get ready for the season:

1) develop a checklist for your hiking equipment, then review the condition of each item, make notes of what is needed to be replaced. Then make sure everything is packed before you go out hiking on the trail. The checklist should include the following – whistle, map,  rain gear, layers, trekking poles,  extra pair of smart wool socks,  gaiters, jacket, first aid kit, knife,  hat, sun glasses, bug spray, and a  camera with extra batteries etc.

2) Develop a training plan – a)  start your hiking season with short hikes, b) then move on to medium hikes and then c) longer hikes.  Build your strength up, get used to your equipment and then you are ready for some hiking challenges.

3)  Every hiking season brings many special moments and memories. Always bring your camera with you, bring extra batteries and memory card. You never know what you might run into or find yourself in the right place at right time. Below is a pick of a spruce grouse that I almost ran into on the Clyburn Valley hiking trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park on the long weekend in May.

Spruce Grouse, Clyburn Valley, CBHNP

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Getting an early start to hiking season is what most hikers want but it forces us to hike in wet spring like conditions and in snow sometimes. Here are some tips to start the season off early:

1)  Crossing streams – With melting snow and milder conditions, streams are higher this time of the year and  more of them.  Tips –  a) wear gaiters – gore-tex are the best, waterproof hiking boots (gore-tex) , wool socks – plus take an extra pair. b) Use poles to cross streams & walk softly on rocks.  I learned how important poles were in Scotland hiking the West Highland Way and crossing so many streams, c) Make sure your hip belt and chest straps are on to avoid your daypack to sway.  d) Double bag your camera gear with dry bags or ziplock bags.

A stream on Red Island Hiking Trail

2) Hiking in snow on trails – Tips – a) hike with gaiters on, waterproof hiking boots and wool socks. b) take your trekking poles and use them. Don’t forget your baskets….

3) Take an extra jacket –  Important to dress in layers this time of the year. It is colder and you do not want to get chills.  Make sure you have a base layer, mid-layer and jacket  a) wear your jacket when you stop for snacks, lunch and water breaks…. you do not want to get cold…take short breaks and keep moving.

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Christmas treeThe christmas trees are up in some homes and more are on its way. It is that time of the year again…I read the other day on Canadian Tire Flyer cover – just 3 weeks to go. Wow time is flying by….Here are some ideas for you to help you decide and pick out the right gift for your hiker friend(s).

Lets start with the small ones under $30.00 –  mesh bags,  a watch that clips on your daypack, a good whistle,  a compass,  a hat,  sunglasses pouch,  a memory card for the camera, re-chargeable batteries,  sunscreen, insect repellent,a  tree book, dry pouches or dry bags,  maps, a pair of smart wool socks, a small knife, waterproof matches, pack biners, pedometer,  a stainless steel waterbottle,  gloves,  DVD spindle,  Turtle Light (MEC), a first aid kit,  gaiters, a bird book,  a wool toque,  a one year subscription to Backpacker, Explore or Outside magazine, and a nature or landscape photography book.      

Some bigger and more expensive gifts ($40.00 & over) –  baselayer, mid-layer,  fleece jacket, rain jacket & pants, daypack,  headlamp, trekking poles,  gps, water filter,  photo organizer & editing program, a pair of hiking pants/shorts that you can zipper off the legs, hiking boots,  a $50.00 gift card and registration fee for a photography course.   

I hope this list provides you with some ideas to help you with your christmas shopping. Good Luck and Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas

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