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Archive for the ‘gaiters’ Category

White Point

Close to 100 hikers enjoyed the hikes on Day 2 of 2011  Hike the Highlands Festival at White Point and Sugar Loaf . It was a day to enjoy great coastal scenery,  a climb up a steep mountain and to prepare you with some wet weather.

White Point hike provided great coastal scenery, the history of the Unknown sailor and  Two Tittles. This trail is featured in many photos especially Wally Hayes, retired professional photographer with NS Tourism. He enjoyed this trail at sunrise, sunset and during the day.

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Sugar Loaf , one of the classic hikes on Cape Breton Island and also part of 3 Peaks Challenge, made for some quick pictures at the top as the skies opened up with rain.  There are some great pics of nearby mountains, North Harbour and 4 mile beach on the summit.

Day 3 hikes include Meat Cove Mountain and Money Point Gulch, both feature outstanding views at the top of each mountain. Don’t forget your camera on this sunny day.

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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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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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Spring hiking means wet conditions, streams and brooks to cross, and using your trekking poles and wearing your gaiters. But don’t forget about snow...Franey is one of your classic hikes in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park – incredible views on top and a nice aerobic workout.

It was around the 4th hill that I noticed more snow as hiked to the top of the mountain. The 5th hill had snow as well.  While at the top I took a few pictures of the Clyburn Valley showing there was snow on the mountains. Going down Franey you take an old fire road and this is where I really notice snow. Some places were 3-5 ft deep but I was lucky it was packed and I didn’t sink. The snow stayed close to halfway down the mountain and then there was ponds and streams to get around. Franey is one of three peaks hikers will complete in the Cape Breton Highlands 3 Peaks Challenge on July 16th.

Below are some more pictures of my Franey hike in early May

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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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