This morning I grabbed an orange, made a peanut butter sandwich, and filled up my biggest water bottle (28oz) and set out on the trail to see how I did with hiking. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do more of, so I figured this would be a good way to gauge what I could handle.
Well, 4 hours and ~10 miles later I’m back and I have some conclusions.
1. Proper hiking shoes are a necessity. I put on my favorite shoes for short walks in the woods, my minimal trail running shoes. These did not cut it. Every pointy rock, tree root and squirrel-gnawed hickory nut in the county poked itself into the arches of my feet. My legs are a little fatigued but my feet and ankles are beat. Also, a little more arch support (especially after long run yesterday) would definitely be good.
2. Think harder about provisions. I’m glad I brought some food with me. I ate the sandwich about 4 miles in, and kept the orange in reserve. I wound up eating the orange in the last trail segment– I didn’t want to stop walking and I was almost there so I just peeled it and stuffed it into my face as I went. I drank all my water; it was just enough. I could’ve used more fuel– every time I stopped moving the world swam around me… if I didn’t have that orange I would’ve bonked hard.
3. It’s really not that exciting. Okay, maybe the first half of the hike I had the energy to pay attention to wildlife (I saw a fox, a tiny garter snake, a cool spider, and hundreds of squirrels. And tons of caterpillars, weirdly.) But after a point, all I did was watch my feet (so many pointy rocks) and look up every few minutes for a blaze, hoping I was still on the trail.
I’m not sure how this all stacks up. I have friends who are experienced hikers so I guess the way to go would be to ask them for advice, now that I have a baseline to work from.