Hiking has become more and more popular in recent years, leading more Canadians to explore this beautiful Country. With Spring here, longer days and more sunshine, now is the perfect time to start thinking about what new trails, mountains, and/or lakes you want to explore this year. In an effort to help you Move Well, Be Well, here are our top 3 tips to prepare for hiking season!
1 – Plan Your Adventure: Whether you are getting ready for a 3 day hike in the depths of the forest or a one hour walk through the meadow, it is important to have some kind of plan for your adventure.
A plan allows you to prepare for the adventure you are about the embark, knowing how long it will be, what kind of terrain to expect, and any possible hazards to be aware of, allowing you the opportunity to be better prepared
Here are 3 of our favourite hikes in the Okanagan:
- Spion Koop – located in Lake Country, this hike has a plethora of trails you can create your own adventure while seeking exceptional views of the lake, forest and city below.
- Stephen’s Coyote Ridge – located in Kelowna, this hike has some steep hills but also has some breathtaking views of the valley, ponds, and plenty of trees!
- Lebanon Creek – Located in Kelowna, this hike is a bit lesser known but is quickly gaining popularity as it offers stunning views of the lake and a few good hill climbs.
Having a plan is also a crucial step in safety. Let a friend (or family member) know where you are going and when they can expect to hear from you, also let them know a time that if they do not hear from you by they should begin to worry. Having a plan in place helps to keep you safe and should an unfortunate incident occur, help will already be on the way.
2 – Pack Your Bag: Having a plan and being prepared go hand in hand, the more you know about the environment you are going to be tackling the better you can pack your bag to ensure you don’t forget any important items.
Here are some our essential hiking trip items we won’t leave without:
A pair of good hiking boots (or trail shoes): it seems silly, or perhaps like common sense to know that if you are going hiking you should probably have a good pair of hiking boots, however, even the most avid and experienced hikers can forget this step. It is not uncommon to see people wearing their casual shoes or their favourite indoor running shoes for a brisk hike up Knox. The trouble in mixing your footwear like this can lead to discomfort, pain, and an increase potential for injury. When hiking it is important to look for a shoe with good grip on the bottom, this will help keep you from falling and help you move strongly up any big hills. It is also important to look for a shoe that has some rigidity and ankle support to help keep your feet, knees, and hips aligned – after a long day of hiking, trust us, your body will thank you.
Socks (and maybe a back up pair too): You can never be too prepared when it comes to socks, it is always a good idea to bring along a second pair of socks in your bag – especially for after that refreshing dip in the lake when you don’t want to put back on your grubby ones. Does it matter what kind of socks you pick? short answer, yes. Long answer, most definitely yes. Similar to shoes, the better quality socks you get, the more comfort you will gain. Avoid buying cheap socks that fall down constantly and instead find ones that are made from high quality materials that are breathable, soft, and most importantly comfortable in your boots.
Tip: For added benefit, try wearing compression socks to help keep your legs healthy and happy!
Layers, layers, layers: Hiking up in the mountains can offer some stunning views but those views can also come with rapid (often unpredictable) changes in weather. Make sure you are prepared for every element (water, wind, rain, snow, sunshine) by wearing and packing different layers of clothing.
Don’t forget your food and water: Remember to stay hydrated, even if you are hiking in cooler temperatures it is important to always carry water with you. Invest in a a small camel pack to help make it easier to carry your water (and more convenient to drink) or attach your favourite bottle to your pack with a carabiner. Snacks are also important to help keep your fuelled throughout your adventure!
Pack for the unknown: No matter how prepared we are, we may still run into unexpected situations or unknown scenarios – while we may not always get it right it is important to do as much as we can to prepare for the unknown. Some things to consider would be packing a small first aid kit, bear bell, bug spray, a whistle, cellphone (fully charged), matches, tweezers, etc.
3 – Have Fun: you known that cliche saying, “life’s about the journey, not the destination,” well it’s true, remember to enjoy the sunshine, breath in the clean, fresh air, and find joy along the way! It’s not about whether or not you make it to the top of the highest peak but rather the stories you can share from the or connections you make along the way.
With these tips and tricks in mind, we hope this guide helps you feel prepared and ready to tackle any mountain! May your hiking season be filled with adventures, laughs, sunshine, and not too many bug bites.
Shayla McLean B.H.K – Footwear & Retail Manager