The Vacation of a Lifetime – For This Year, Anyway
The mountains had been calling. The dream of hiking the mountains and camping along the way had been a dream for years. Finally, the time, money and the equipment were all in hand. Let’s go!
Where to Go?
While hiking in the mountains, any mountains, it is important to plan your trip. The dream is to hike in the Andes. This year the route is through the Appalachians, instead. Let’s call it a test run, since so far all the hikes have been within a mile of the house.
What to Take?
Sure, preparing to go hiking sounds easy, but you need to take specific things. Hiking things. For me, I add one more thing. I take my extra strength antiperspirant. Why? Because if I don’t, I am miserable. It’s not like I am public speaking and dealing with clammy hands and ruining my good shirt (that happens at work!).
When I am out in the wilds I need to keep the sweat from in my eyes by swiping my forehead with one of the specialized cloths. That way, since it works for 4 to 7 days I can see clearly and not worry about painful, salty sweat blurring my vision. Once I forgot and went for a bike ride. I actually had to walk my bike home because I got sweat in my eyes. I never forget now.
What Might Happen?
It might rain. It really might. It might really, really rain. How does one prepare for the rain? The advice I have is to take my tent, set it up in the shower at the local YMCA and then sit inside it for several hours while all the shower heads are turned on and pointed straight at it. I called and asked, but they said no.
So, the plan now is to take the tent outside in the back yard and sit inside it while my best friend stands with the hose pointed at it for an hour or so. That’s what friends are for. Maybe we should take turns. I’m still not sure which is the worse part of that job.
Somehow, the tent needs to be tested. I have slept before in a flooded tent. Granted, I was 10 at the time and it was at summer camp, but I still remember the feeling of those nasty damp pjs and I am not looking for a repeat performance.
What Will I Eat?
Either very short hikes will have to be planned or food has to be carried along. And bears. Bears live in the Appalachians and bears like food. Especially people food. I mean food that belongs to people. Don’t go there. It could be a bear problem, or just a raccoon problem, but either way, if you don’t hang your food up out of the reach of critters then you will be hungry.
Chafing is Problematic
The short hikes around the parks near the house have been short enough that I have managed to test out my hiking hoots well enough to know they don’t give me blisters. The trails around home are not long enough for me to know if, or maybe where, my body will decide to chafe.
Every bit of advice I have about hiking says to bring diaper cream for the chafing. I don’t know if there is something else better for it or not, but diaper cream is easily available. I bought some. Mrs. Carmela from down the street saw me buy it. I believe the explanation, “No, we are not having another baby, we are going hiking.” may have left her a bit confused.
Plan for Everything and Anything
This planning process is harder than it looks. You might find that planning a hike is more work than the hike itself, but probably not if you are going to the Appalachians. The Appalachian Trail is actually the longest footpath designed only for hiking in all of America. There are 2,187 miles of paths, which I do not plan to travel all at once. The overall elevation increase is equivalent to going up Mount Everest up to 16 times over those miles. The plan we have is just to take 4 days and hike a bit of it, with no sweat in my eyes, and as little chafing as possible.