Spring Hiking - Tips for Successful (and SAFE) Exploration!
Or if you live in Alberta like me, “spring” hiking.
Listen… spring in Calgary and the beautiful Rockies about an hour West of here lasts about a week. Real talk: I excitedly visited my first patio last Saturday. It was +1 Celsius outside. We were surrounded by snow! I am telling you this as I’ll try to break down the blog in two parts. One for those who actually experience Spring and the other for those of us who know Spring either equals icy snow walks or 25 degree Celsius weather.
I go hiking almost every weekend in the “Spring” and “Fall” in the beautiful Canadian Rockies. I am super lucky and definitely embrace my local tourist status. While on many of these hikes I have witnessed (and worn) the gambit when it comes to clothes and footwear! Last season there was one week in our local provincial park where there were 19 calls for rescue! One theme? According to officials: improper footwear. I would be incredulous if not for the fact that I have hiked to a top of a mountain in Converse (luckily I did not need rescue).
My first fore-aye into proper footwear was in a small town in Waterton National Park. Before doing an epic hike, I went to the local outdoor gear store and bought the cheapest (and non-coincidentally hideous) hiking boots I could find. Needless to say I “lost” (read: left behind) these a few years ago. And so began my (grueling) search for hiking boots. Allow me to share a little anecdote on this journey. I was sending my partner links to boots asking for his advice.
Cam: “Courtney. You are looking for hiking boots. They don’t need to be cute they need to be functional.”
Me: “This is where we disagree. I am unclear why I have to choose between cute and functional!”
Call me an optimist, call him eternally patient, no matter how you call it this boot search was harder than I thought. I settled on some (cute) classic hiking boots that I can use in all four seasons (in the winter snowshoeing). I found some similar classic hiking boot options if you need a pair (https://amzn.to/2NXN5NN and https://amzn.to/2F79o0x). Make no mistake, if you are going to go hiking regularly good (and if you are vain like me, cut!) boots are super important!
Here is where the blog diverges into two parts: if you are “Spring” hiking it is a super good call to bring ice cleats, especially if you are headed to somewhere with higher elevation. You never know what the conditions are like up there for sure (even if you research the trail conditions, which you should definitely do!). Ice cleats are light and compact for your backpack, and super inexpensive. Again, I found mine on Amazon (these for hiking in the mountains https://amzn.to/2XUuAhC and also have these for running in the city in the winter https://amzn.to/2NZQdbT)
You know what else is important? Water! Not only is it important to have a good water bottle (I use Nalgene, it is light and holds a lot of water!) but depending on where you go you may want to consider water purification. A few reasons for this! One: fresh creek water is DELICIOUS. Something about dipping your water bottle in to fresh (and cold) water and drinking it while hiking really makes you feel ‘one’ with nature. The other reason is the ‘just in case’ reason. Just in case of emergency, the hike takes longer than initially imagined, or you drink more than you thought you would. Either way, it is very important to make sure it is safe to drink! Water purification options are diverse and very affordable! Here is a link to the tablets https://amzn.to/2XSItNu and a tad more expensive option is the UV pen https://amzn.to/2CcBCoD. The pen is pricey, and has come in handy… we have even taken while traveling to drink water where it may not be safe to drink otherwise.
Last (but not least!) is research, you have to know where you’re going! To blaze your trail, I recommend the All trails App! It is super helpful and informative and allows you to download your own route. Plus, there is a GPS feature to make sure you don’t get lost in the woods! In the coming weeks and months I’ll share some more about awesome hiking adventures!
I would love to hear from you! Are you an avid hiker or new to it? Have you ever worn ‘improper footwear’ like myself? Are you still wearing converse? Sound off in the comments below as our hiking adventure begins!
FYI: This post features affiliate links where available, which means I get a tiny bonus if you get yourself something new. I can assure you that all items were personally chosen by me while watching RHONY, while researching for this post. All opinions — as always! — are my own. (I’d never lead you astray!)