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Archive for the ‘Hiking Tips’ Category

Sun reflecting off the ice

As new year begins, many hikers take time to reflect on the past year,2011 and what it was for them. Hikers remember the trails they hiked, the people they have meet, those incredible photos taken and those special memories.

It is now time to plan and prepare for the 2012 season… 1) One of the first things I like to do is review my equipment & its condition, do a complete  inventory and see what is needed to purchase for this year. Looks like it will be a new pair of boots and daypack,  2)  Develop a fitness plan for the winter and spring as well set kilometre goals for 2012.  I know that to stay in shape I need to do so many kilometres each year but I am careful not to become a fitness hiker where I miss those special moments with nature & photos. I have set a lofty goal of 1000 kms in 2012, 3) Improve my photography & creative skills  with the camera and take more 5 stars pictures.

Ice in the brook

And finally, 4) Develop a wish list of a new trails and challenges to explore. These include a) the hike a 100 km  for the Hikers Distance Award at the Hike the Highlands festival,  b) Complete the Cape Breton Highlands 3 Peaks Challenge ( hike 3 mountains in one day on Saturday, July 21, 2012,  c) hike Snowdon Mountain, Wales, the last of the UK 3 Peaks Challenge mountains to hike, d) East Coast Trail in Newfoundland and Labrador, and e) Cape Chignecto.  Other challenges on my list include Ride for Diabetes in June at Little Bras d”Or, , Cycling the Confederation Trail (300 km) in PEI and doing the Not Since Moses 10k/5k Walk & Run event.

Wow it certainly plans to be a busy year….Have you started planning your schedule for hiking in 2012 ?  I wish all hikers happiness, good health and lots of hiking in 2012.

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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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Taking a break with Hiking Gear on Franey

With just 5 weeks away, it is time to start planning and preparing for the Hike the Highlands Festival, Sept. 9-18, 2011.  Here are some tips:

1) Determine your Hikes  – Review the list of hikes scheduled ie. trail description, photos & map. Determine the ones you would like to do and how many days you would be staying.  Registration is a 2 step process. First register for your hikes online and second –  determine pass, then pay on-line.

2) Book your Accommodations –  Once you have determine the hikes you want  to do and the days you are staying. now it is time to book your accommodations. An accommodation  list  is provided on each of the communities..Check out their websites and tripadvisor reviews to help you with your decision-making.  Please note  September is a busy time around the Cabot Trail.

3) Develop & Prepare your Equipment List –  Daypack, poles, hiking boots, water bottle(s), hat, sun glasses, sunscreen, insect repellent,  extra hiking socks,  jacket,  rain gear, extra layers, extra hiking shorts/pants,  digital camera with extra cards & batteries

4) Start Hiking or Continue – is important to be in shape for this festival…If you haven’t started hiking yet, please do so ..starting with a short hikes -2-4 kms, then work you way up to 5-8km and then a long hike 10-15 km.  You have time to get in shape.  Build up your hiking kms each week . Hikers at the Festival have options to hike 1-2 hikes a day or one longer hike.

Hope these tips have been helpful in planning and preparing for the upcoming Hike the Highlands Festival.

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Trails Day, Saturday, June 4th, 2011

On International Trails Day, Saturday, June 4th, we hiked the Cape Smokey hiking trail , a 11km seacoast trail that features a number of scenic look-offs – seven in total.  The look-offs are located over 900 feet from water on high granite cliffs. Besides the hike today, our tasks were to clean-up the final look-off and trim limbs and branches on the way out. It was Hike the Highlands  way of giving something  back to one of Cape Breton Highlands favorite hiking trails.

Unfortunately, we did not get to see much on the way out as it was a thick of fog. It started to clear a bit on the end and yes even the sun came out. My friend, Tim found the geocache at the end of the trail and that made his day. Locals call the end of the trail – the green spot. It is a wonderful view when it is clear and you can see Ingonish Harbour, Middle Head and Ingonish Island  and the bays – North and South. We could hear the lobster boats below and their engines as well the harbour buoy- a fog horn.

Coming back as the sky got clear and we stop a few times at the look-off near the coasts. It was evident by the views, we were hiking above the clouds that day. A great way to end the International Trails Day in Nova Scotia. Hope your day was special too. Below is a few pics of the day.

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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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