What I Learned on my Longest Hike Yet
Most of my hikes have been 1.5 to 2.5 hours long, but I finally made it out on a 5+ hour hike, and, well I learned a lot. My hike (walk around town really) consisted of mostly flat terrain on paved paths. I carried 30lbs in my ULA pack, and I also tested out my Ultra Cool Fanny Pack (named so because, well, nobody thought it was). I tested the fanny pack as a place to carry quick grab items. I walked 24.5km (15.2mi), and it took 5 hours and 13 minutes.
What I learned on my Longest Hike Yet
The comfort of the pack is super important
My ULA pack didn’t bother me too much, except where the sternum strap rubbed my chest. It would get super itchy as I warmed up. Also, I think I need a bigger hipbelt to get more padding around my hips. Since then, I did a 22km (13.5mi) in 4:20 with my Osprey pack, and it was super comfortable with 30lbs in it.
Using the fanny pack was awesome!
It didn’t bounce around, and the extra buckle below my pack wasn’t irritating at all. The pack itself was super convenient and held my phone and charging cable, snacks, sunglasses, a pair of gloves, Kleenex, my wallet, and my iPod. This is definitely a solid option if you need extra carry room. However, as mentioned in the Great Pack Debate, my Osprey pack has the top pocket to accommodate these items, which I prefer to having a separate pack around my waist.
I got some good ones between my big toe and the next one. However, I had chosen long warm socks to wear instead of my Injinji toe socks which I plan to wear on the trail. I have since done longer distances with my Injinji socks and have not had any recurrence of blisters.
The mental challenge was considerable
I wanted to call Tim innumerable times during the hike to come and get me. I also texted him 43 times (separation anxiety is real). I also found myself wondering several times, what am I doing? Along with a few choruses of “I’ll never make it”. Followed by, “what I would give for a Slurpee and a tub right now”. I could go on and on. I noticed that the negative self-talk started around the two hour mark, it didn’t last, but it came and went a few times. Really, I could do a whole post on the mental challenge alone.
I like to stop and take pictures…a lot
Not much more needs to be said about that, except I may have to watch myself if I want to get to Canada before the snow flies.
I used a lot of battery power on my cell
First, I should mention that I suffer from low battery anxiety, so what I consider low is relative. I came back with 30% battery power after 5hr15. Granted, I did a lot of map checking and texting that I wouldn’t be doing on the trail, but it’s good to have some sort of indication of what phone use means. Especially since my phone is also my camera.
It’s always good to carry a first aid kit
Luckily I had mine with me when approached by three women, one of which had tripped and cut her lip on the pavement. Luckily it wasn’t stitch-worthy, and I was glad to be able to provide some assistance from my kit.
To iPod or not to iPod
At first, I believed I was a definitely NOT going to listen to my iPod while hiking. I wanted a completely natural listening experience. But, I’ve come to realize that music is comfort food and may just get me through the hardest mental challenges. So, I will bring my Shuffle after all.
I’m in better shape than I thought, however…
I carried 30lbs for 24km. I’ve never done that before. I did feel it though. My feet and hips ached into the night, but thankfully it didn’t last. A good night’s sleep was all I needed to feel normal.
Afterwards, reality set in
After the hike, I have to admit, I was overwhelmed thinking about the whole thru-hike. This walk was fairly flat, one day in a row. When I try to imagine what it will be like to do this day after day with more weight…holy crap, what have I signed up for?
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