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How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking?
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Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/12/2011 21:30:35 MST Print View

Hey all
So there is always tons of threads about gear, food, destinations ect. But there doesnt seem to be a whole lot about how people actual hike/ spend there time hiking.

I was just curious if people have a specific technique.
Do you hike for an allotted period of time, and then break for a period of time?
When I was in scouts, and we were hiking with a group we would set times. SO we would hike for 20min, then stop for 3 min. But the two minutes would not start till the last person in the group stopped. When we were going over a pass we would so caterpillar hiking....anyone else ever use that with groups?

Do you change your stride or step when you are on a decline/incline/flat?
How about what you do when you hike? Take lots of photos? sing? enjoy the nature around you?
What about changing how you back depending on the days hike. I have heard if you are heading down hill all day to put the weight towards the bottom of your pack, and if you are heading uphill the majority of the day to put the weight more towards the top of you pack? Any validity to that?

Anyway...just curious what peoples thoughts are on this subject.

Thoughts? ideas? concerns?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/12/2011 22:27:46 MST Print View

Every trip is different. Hike your own hike. Your mileage may vary. Take only photos, and leave only footprints. Don't get ahead of the front leader, and don't get behind the rear sweep.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/12/2011 22:37:35 MST Print View

"Every trip is different. "

+1. Not to mention that our own conditions and moods are different so that even two hikes on the same trail on different days can be hiked very differently, with very different results.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/13/2011 09:14:19 MST Print View

One of the reasons I like to hike solo is pacing. I don't feel obligated to wait or have others wait for me. With a big set of switchbacks, I can take a few turns and stop to catch my breath when it suits me. I can stop, take in views, take a few photos, get a sip of water, check out flora/fauna/geologic features, look at a map and so on. I'm never out to make big miles and dawdle along at my pleasure. There's enough Rat Race back in town!

When I'm in camp, if the weather is good and the bugs aren't bad, I'll rest a bit, put up my shelter, cook when I'm ready, read or listen to the radio, and wander around the area-- I usually camp near water. I need to fish more :)

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/13/2011 10:01:29 MST Print View

I just stop when I'm really tired for a few mins. I almost never take my pack off except for lunch. Personally, I don't want to constrain myself to stopping at an allotted time- what if its in the middle of an uphill? I hate stopping on an uphill unless I'm totally bonkin. usually I get in the groove and forget to look around but I'm getting better.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/13/2011 10:30:13 MST Print View

As others have said, alone, I just kinda mozy... sometimes I go 20-30 miles, sometimes 15.
I wake early, usually around dawn, and take my time packing and with breakfast, fixing anything that needs it, setting things up for the day and supper and camp at night. I leave a couple hours later. I hike till about 1500 or so, give or take a couple hours and take my pack off for 15 minutes and eat lunch. I hike till about 1900 or so, and set up camp. This works out to be about 12-13 hours in summer, closer to 8 hours in spring and fall.

With my family, it was more do what you can, ignore the first one or two "Can we stop now?" queries. I tried to maintain an hour hike, 5 minutes rest for the kids. With the wife and I, I usually go about 2 hours and 5 minutes, 2 hours, 5 minutes, 2 hours and 15 minutes, 2 hours and 5 minutes, 2 hours or whatever to camp. I tried to set up a shedule with the scouts, but this really didn't work that well. One or the other would always be saying they needed something out of the least a 3 minute break. With other hikers, I go with whatever they want to do. I can keep up, generally.

Rearranging your pack is a lot of hastle. I will do it if I am on a LONG down hill. But I don't usually bother. I pack in revers order of the way it will be needed. Tarp is in the side pouches, low. Water is in the side pouch, low. Soo, I guess all the weigh, heavy items, are low. I vary the way I use my staff by twisting the lashings.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
time on the trail on 02/13/2011 10:43:42 MST Print View

I have always preferred to spend at least as much time fishing as I do walking.

Now that I have more physical issues, about ten miles in a day is about my limit anyway--overheating and hip inflammation start to be an issue around there, and it seems like perhaps blood sugar and accumulated fatigue as well, so closer to 6-7 is more realistic. Since I still walk a a pretty good pace, this leaves plenty of time for fishing and lounging. Unfortunately, the hips and accumulated fatigue and sometimes overheating are still a factor while fishing, so I'm able to enjoy fishing less than before, less than I would like. I now spend a lot more time lounging and soaking in cold water (the cold water in particular really seems to help). On the last multi day trip, frequent stops to plunge in cold water really seemed to make a big difference.

I like to take pictures and am beginning to enjoy this passive activity more. I also like to read and sometimes write while on the trail, both activities which seem to be easier to accommodate within my limitations. I have renewed appreciation for sitting around the campfire and talking, so I like to camp more often where fires are permitted.

More recently, I have been experiencing numbness in my feet. This is troubling and may signal the beginning of the end for any extended hiking, particularly off trail or on any but the smoothest trails, as proprioception is reduced, resulting in more frequent missteps and stumbles.

Lately I've been window shopping for recliners.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Hiking on 02/13/2011 11:25:09 MST Print View

Ideally, I like to keep a medium pace, which I can keep for most of the day. I don't like to take a lot of breaks and long breaks make it harder , as I cool down and aches can set it. I prefer not to stop on an uphill; the advantages of getting my heart and blood going, seem to go away when taking extended breaks. When hiking with friends, I can adjust and enjoy whatever goes.
On some trips I definitively like to take a lot of pictures, and I always enjoy and notice my surroundings, from the big vistas to the little details. I like teaching and sharing what I know about the plants, insects and geology and I am so thankful to learn from others. I also like to hike with someone that is comfortable with not talking and it still feels like we are sharing the experience.
I don't fish, but it looiks like fun. Haven't listened to music while hiking, but I sometimes do while working and I know it can help one keep going and stay with a certain pace.
I like to walk, I like uphills. I think I am built for uphill; short, sort of stout ( may not look like it, but I am ), low center of gravity....

edited to add:
I learned from Casey that I do much better on downhill by taking very small, possibly fast, steps. Smaller steps keep my center of gravity right under me and it's easier to catch myself if I misstep or slip. Thanks Casey (Bowden).

Edited by Kat_P on 02/13/2011 11:36:32 MST.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Hiking on 02/13/2011 11:27:54 MST Print View

how do I spend my time hiking? Panting and cursing up hill. Other than that, taking pics and enjoying the scenery. I like the destination and views ore than hiking

Patrick S
(xpatrickxad) - F

Locale: Upper East TN
re hiking on 02/13/2011 13:19:54 MST Print View

I have a rule where I stop every time I see a good sittin' log or rock. Even if I just sat in the middle of the trail and had lunch 100 yards down. Its not only a good chance to snack, get water and take a load off, but it really makes me stop and be aware of where I am. The trees, rocks, trail, weather, etc...

Another rule is I never turn down free food on the trail.

I try to have a rule of a 20 mile a day limit, but recently realized just how often I break that. I don't do well with alarm clocks, schedules and routines. They just don't make sense to me especially on the trail.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/13/2011 19:15:06 MST Print View

On all the hikes I do there are various rest stops I've identified. If I am leading a group, or if I'm with a group where the leader uses the same rest stops, I will tell people we'll rest at such-and-such a place. I don't let anyone stop until we get there. In my experience, if you let people stop as much as they want, they'll stop too much. They'll stop so much they'll actually make the hike harder for themselves than it has to be. You have to push some people to show them they're capable of more than they thought.

In a group, I hike at my own pace, stopping at places where people might go astray so I can make sure they don't, but I don't stop for a rest until I get to the rest stop. The rest stop has nothing to do with time or distance. They are just appropriate places to stop.

When I'm alone, I tend to ignore the rest stops completely. When I'm backpacking I've got a few places I've identified for rest stops on trips I've done before. For example, on one of the trips I like to do, there's this crest after a climb where there's a cave with a pictograph. I always stop there. It's a great spot.

If I'm hiking somewhere I've never been, I stop when I'm hungry or need to fill my water. Otherwise, I like hiking and I like seeing what's around the next corner so I keep on hiking.

> Do you change your stride or step when you are on a decline/incline/flat?
No, not consciously. I'm sure I attempt to slow down a bit going downhill and attempt to speed up some going up hill.

> How about what you do when you hike? Take lots of photos? sing? enjoy the nature around you?
Yes. All those. I don't sing so much as have music going through my head. On the PCT sometimes I would talk out loud to my pet bird at home. A sad, large quantity of time I would calculate and recalculate the amount of food I had left vs the amount of days to my next resupply.

> What about changing how you back depending on the days hike. I have heard if you are heading down hill all day to put the weight towards the bottom of your pack, and if you are heading uphill the majority of the day to put the weight more towards the top of you pack? Any validity to that?
I pack the same way no matter what. That way I always know where everything is and can find what I want by sticking my hand in and pulling it out.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
How do you hike on 02/14/2011 00:00:05 MST Print View

If I'm hiking solo, I just hike until I feel like I need a break, then stop and either get off my feet for a bit and eat something or set up camp for the night. Sometimes I'll stop early (before I'm ready for a break) or push a little farther for a particularly nice stop if I'm on a hike I already know.

I typically snack while walking since I keep some snacks in the waist belt pockets of my pack. This helps me to cut down on down time taking breaks.

If I'm with my girlfriend or have our dog along, then i need to be a bit more proactive with planning breaks along the walk, say every 1.5-2 hours or so.

Coincidentally, I also stop at the same site as Piper on a particular hike and spend some time pondering the natives americans that passed through this area before me.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
how to hike on 02/14/2011 08:28:24 MST Print View

I've never heard the bit about distributing weight differently for uphills and downhills. Sounds like hookum.

I enjoy walking all day, so I try to do just that, keeping water and snacks and the map reachable without taking my pack off. Leave camp early, get into camp late. I often walk a bit slower with others along, but usually use the same approach.

I do plan fishing breaks into trips, and sometimes those can last for most of the day.

I also keep the camera on my person at all times, and never hesitate to stop and take photos if it seems worthwhile.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/14/2011 08:42:13 MST Print View

I hike for an hour and then take a five minute seated break with my shoes off. I try to hike as quickly as possible with the trail is smooth and level because I slow down a lot on uphills. I push myself pretty hard at all times. Unfortunately that often means I don't enjoy my surroundings as much as I'd like. I sometimes readjust my pack straps, not so much for the inclines, but to keep pressure points moving around. I would take more pictures, but I'm still looking for a trail camera that I'm willing to carry and use frequently.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
How I Hike on 02/14/2011 09:23:46 MST Print View

I perfer to take my time. On my last trip I had to do 20+ miles everyday to make it in time. While i saw more, I would have definately enjoyed it more if I went 10 miles a day. I think 10 miles a day is perfect for me. I dont have a set plan to stop eveyr hour or so, my meals seem to be pretty set-naturally. I take breaks when nature presents one, a great overlook or scenic waterfall is a great place to enjoy a snack and relax. I would much rather do that than take scheduled breaks. I tend to end up sitting down in the middle of a switchback instead of a beatiful overlook when i take scheduled breaks. Besides if you hike at a moderate pace, you wont need breaks all the time anyway, I like to keep it natural and take breaks when nature presents me with a good opportunity to do so.

In the summer time I enjoy throwing off my pack because i can hear waterfall, bushwhacking to find it then taking a swim. I enjoy the better food that i consume when im on a slower pace-instead of eating bars/jerky/gorp all day, i can eat more of my dehydrated meals and experiement with new recipes. I enjoy exploring caves, caverns, going off trail when something is interesting. I like catching crayfish with my hand and fishing as well. Always practice catch and release, no need to create unneccessary harm.

As far as technique, yea i change it. Obviously there are times when one has a blister/minor injury and needs to modify their stride a bit to compensate. When im going uphill i shorten my hiking poles and when im going downhill i lengthen them I also tend to put my palm on top of my poles when going downhill and really pull my weight down on the wrist straps when going uphill. One of the things i try to do for sure is distribute as much weight as i can to my upper body while hiking. Your legs carry you out there and you want to protect them as much as possible. This means I really use my poles for every step on the downhills. I've gotten more heel spurs, blisters and inflamation from not using my poles enough on the downhills than anything else. I always let my pole strike the ground before my foot on really steep declines. Another reason I will never abandon my hiking poles now that I use them. I use TI GOATs BTW, with straps.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 02/14/2011 09:32:59 MST.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/14/2011 11:02:21 MST Print View

Ike said it all for me, my thoughts and approach exactly!

Jeff Brown
(northshorehc) - F

Locale: New England
Steady Pace on 02/22/2011 09:06:25 MST Print View

I like to start slow, find my pace, and hike without stopping for the first hour or so, at least. I find that I lose my momentum when I stop.

When hiking in a group, my friends and others like to stop often. I just explain that I need to keep going and that I'll wait for them ahead. I never leave anyone alone, though.

Winter hiking is a bit different, though. Although it's new to me, I am learning to regulate my temperature and I'll be trying different techniques as I progress in the sport.

Edited by northshorehc on 02/22/2011 09:11:26 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/22/2011 09:19:56 MST Print View

Generally, I move all day. I don't like stopping for lunch (and never do if I'm on my own). I don't like stopping for breaks longer than it takes to refill my water and eat some nuts/clif bar/whatever or to take a quick photo. I munch and drink on the move. I start in the morning, stop at night, with very little down time in between.

Of course, I am getting old. Might be slowing down a bit. Which, I guess, really means I'll just go a bit slower all day. I don't sit still well, so I don't think I'll ever take breaks throughout the day unless I'm with a group that does. And then I'll probably be antsy.

Edited by idester on 02/22/2011 09:22:09 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
My Hike on 02/22/2011 10:09:34 MST Print View

I was ADHD as a kid and never outgrew it. My Backpacking reflect this since I like to be on the move.

I typically starting hiking at first light. I love the early morning hours. I get going quick and get a couple of hours hiking in before stopping for a quick breakfast, if I even stop at all. I generally plan aggressive mileage trips to maximize the areas that I can see. Around 1:00 I stop for lunch, maybe for half an hour and off I go for the afternoon. Dinner will come at 5-6 and then I hit my second favorite time of day, evening. I will target hiking right to sunset or a good camping site. I setup camp and usually go to sleep.

As you can see, my trips are about the hiking not the camping.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Re: How do you actually hike/ spend your time hiking? on 02/22/2011 11:13:52 MST Print View

+1 on what Douglas said.

As a solo hiker, I like to start early, hike all day with minimal breaks, and stop as late as possible. With an ultralight load, I find I don't need to stop very often to rest...