Saturday, October 4, 2014

Proper Hiking

First things first, this isn't a post about typical hiking... there is plenty of information already about that, just type into your google search bar "tips for hiking" or "what to take hiking" and you get a plethora of posts and articles. But you don't go on typical hikes, you are a proper mountain woman, and you don't need to be reminded to pack water and put on sunscreen. This post is about "proper" hiking... the kind of hiking a proper mountain woman engages in. What's the difference you might wonder... well I shall tell you.

Typical hiking is the type of hiking people try and do a couple times of year. It might be that they actually didn't plan to go on the hike at all... it was someone else's idea and they accepted their invite. Or it's the kind of hike that happens because you and your friend were bored and decided to try it out, "hey, should we go hiking this weekend?" "Sure, I've got nothing else to do"... or "I heard of this great hike I want to try, want to come do it with me?" "Lets do it, what time should we meet in the morning?" "I don't know... lets say 7am". The morning of you hit the snooze a few times, wrestle up a hiking back pack, then the two of you head to your nearest grocery store the morning of to find some food to take with you. This is classic typical hiking.

Proper hiking has a way more deliberate eager approach. It's something you want to do in your leisure time because you enjoy being in the mountains and because you need to be rejuvenated. I compare it to taking a luxurious, hot, bubble bath verses taking your daily shower. Proper hiking is a chance to soak up the mountains and relax, it begins when a proper mountain woman thinks to herself, "I need to go be in the mountains".

I've seen several hiking supply lists in my time, most of which are boring to read and don't tell me anything I don't already know... water, trail mix, sunscreen, first aid kit...yeah yeah, this isn't your first hike, you know what to pack. The following supply list doesn't have those boring items on it, it's a proper day-hike supply list for those proper mountain woman who want to elevate their typical hiking experience to a higher level of mountain enjoyment. Enjoy!

  1. Day Pack - obviously, you are going to need a proper pack to hold all this stuff in. Find yourself a pack that you love and that will make you want to get out and use it more often. On spur-of-the-moment hikes I have grabbed old school backpacks to use as I'm running out the door, and sometimes it turns out to be sort of obnoxious if they don't fit right. A bad back pack can rub against your arm and be pretty unpleasant, even if it's just a short hike. When I have a back pack that I have picked out specifically for hiking, it's way more comfortable. Plus, if it's a special pack you acquired just for hiking, and you love the way it looks, well, my opinion is that it will feel special every time you get to use it. Every proper mountain woman should have a legit day hiking pack she's proud to wear.
  2. Tissues - never go hiking without tissues! Something about being up in higher elevation, and cooler air, mixed with physical exertion can sometimes make your nose run. Having tissues on hand will make you so happy. Every time I'm out hiking with my mom she will at some point declare, "I'm so glad we brought tissues, we need to always remember these!". Clearing out your nose to smell the freshness of a pine forest is heavenly, another bonus is that you can use them as toilet paper if while in nature, nature calls.
  3. Gum - a must for dry a dry mouth.
  4. Chap Stick - in colder air and sunshine your lips will dry out. When I forget my chap stick and get chapped lips it's all I can think about. Don't forget yours.
  5. Knife - if you don't own a knife, get yourself one as soon as possible. A proper mountain woman must have her own knife, and she needs to be able to say that she uses it. If you are out in the mountains with friends and a situation arises where I knife is needed, there is nothing cooler than being able to say "here, use mine". A good knife can serve many purposes on a proper hike... like cutting wild flowers to press or whittling a stick, It will also give you a psychological edge knowing that you have one and you could use it to defend yourself if needed.
  6. Binoculars - packing binoculars is not a necessity and can take up some room in your pack, but they are fun to have if you decide to bring them. Every once in a while you'll get a chance to see something amazing in them. The worst is when you see something far off or up above you and you wish you had a pair.
  7. Bic Lighter - the only reason I can think of for bringing a lighter on a small hike is just in case your day hike takes a turn for the worst and you need to start a fire to stay warm. I choose a bic lighter because they are cheap and pretty much fool proof. I have yet to see one not do it's job... unless you've had it for years and the gas has run out, in my case I usually misplace the lighter long before they quit working and need to buy a new one. Compared to other fire starters I've seen, like flint and steel, magnesium strikers, or even matches, a Bic lighter is easy to use, and will even work after it's been wet. They're less than two bucks on every gas station counter across the country, buy one, and throw it in your pack, and then forget about it. If you happen to need it, you'll be glad it's there.
  8. Proper Snacks - so typical trail food includes trail mix, cliff bars, and an apple... but this list is not about that boring stuff, there are so many options for food on the trail if you decide to think outside of the typical hiking food mentality. Proper hiking is all about enjoying your time in the mountains and things are more enjoyable to me when there is good food involved. Imagine setting yourself a proper picnic up in the mountains where you have paused from hiking to take a break and enjoy the scenery in your pretty little mountain corner... you reach into your pack and pull out your knife, a block of cheese, a package of salami and some crackers. Cheese tastes so good while out in the woods. So does salami, you don't even need the crackers. If I were to go hiking with some friends, I wouldn't let them know what I had brought to snack on till I had pulled it out and started slowly slicing the block with my knife. They will marvel at your proper hiking and thank you for the delicious morsel. Another idea is packing some whole grain, nutty, flat-bread and a plastic bottle of honey, tear off pieces of the bread, squeeze some honey on it, and enjoy. Hiking with coconut water has become the thing to do because of the natural electrolytes, and I must admit that I find it very refreshing. I just have to tell you that the best coconut water I've tasted, hands down, is by Nirvana.
  9. Writing Utensils - whether I'm by myself hiking, or chatting back and forth with a friend on the trails, I find myself thinking more clear and being inspired... I often have thoughts or ideas I want to remember, make sure you bring a pencil or pen to write those things down for later. 
  10. Notebook - this goes along with #9, along with the thoughts and ideas in your head, it's also nice to just sit in a pretty place and simply write, just for the exercise of working out your thoughts and what is going on in your life. I have been getting back into drawing, so having some blank pages to doodle on is a must right now. The mountains are truly a spiritual place, created to inspire us... a notebook will be your best friend on a proper hike to help organize your thoughts and be creative.
  11. Book - I like hiking with a book that has good words in it to read. Sometimes a book you have read before and loved is perfect to take, because trying to read a new book might be too distracting. Once I went hiking with my dad and while we were paused on the trail taking a breather we shared our favorite scriptures with each other, and my dad had his scriptures with him. I love reading my scriptures in the mountains. Bring a book that inspires you, sometimes reading it in a different spot will give you a different impression than you had before. One more reason to bring a book or notebook with you is in case you see a leaf or flower that speaks to you, you'll have some pages to press it between and keep it safe in your pack till you get home. 
  12. Cell Phone - one of the handiest things to take hiking is a Plan B. Before I go hiking I like to make a general plan of where I am going to go, and then I make a second plan in case the first one doesn't work out. This has been useful a few times, like when you find out a trail you wanted to hike is still covered in snow, it looks too crowded, or there's been a bear-sighting in the area... I have simply pulled out my phone and looked at what the back up plan was, which I will write down in my phone's note section. There are also a few proper hiking apps that are fun to use that I want to share with you: when you have service on top of a ridge, you can use this app to see the names of all the mountains around you = PeakFinder, to find some good hikes in your area, includes distance and elevation, and it will track your average pace, distance covered, and calories burned while hiking = MapMyHike, for wildlife exploration and sightings, check this app out = Project Noah.
  13. Vest - a proper mountain woman gets excited any time she gets to wear a cute outdoorsy hiking vest... well, I am very excited over here because it's that time of year again, chilly October air... proper hiking vest time (click here and here for posts on cute hiking vests). I may not take mine off all month long! Get yourself a hiking vest with lots of pockets, pair it with your favorite flannel shirt, and enjoy how cozy you feel. Get a high-quality hiking vest to wear year after year, I can't wait till mine looks a little more weathered... the sure sign of a proper mountain woman.
  14. Bandanna - who doesn't love a pretty bandanna? They can dab sweat away on your forehead, tie your hair back, wipe your knife blade clean, serve as a small pouch to hold random objects, or you can use it as a small one-person picnic blanket to save yourself from sitting directly on the dirt. 
  15. Cowboy Hat - I like keeping sun off my face and out of my eyes with a hat because I don't like hiking with sunglasses, well, why not make it a cute cowboy hat? There are only so many things in life where you can get away with buying and wearing a cowboy hat... barrel racing is one, and so is proper hiking.
When people pass you on the trails when you are wearing your cowboy hat and cute hiking vest they will know you are legit. Especially when they see you whip out a block of cheese and slice a piece off with your own knife. They will know who owns this part of the mountains.... and who is the proper mountain woman, you.

Peace and pine trees,


  1. Do you draw these little info-graphics? I love them. I just thought you found them online, but now I think you do them, and if you do, I am so impressed. They are wonderful.

  2. Thanks, Hayley! Yeah, I drew this one and some of the other ones... but most of them I make on a graphics app called Studio. If I have the image sourced then I stole it from someone else.


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