Hiking Dude Blog
2018 - May Apr
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After tramping around my local area for the past few months, doing my 5-7 mile morning walks, and not having much to write about, I've got some news to share.
My next long hike isn't really going to be very long, but it will take a long time to get to it. Anyone recognize the photo above? It's a very well-known mountain and I'll be standing on top of it on Valentine's Day 2019 with my wife (and probably a few dozen other people).
Something like 50,000 people try to climb this 5,895 meter (19,341 feet) high peak each year with about 65% of them being successful. We are going with an organized group from our church being guided by an outfitter at the mountain. It will be an 8-day trek up and back down, but covers only about 71km ( or 44 miles).
Well, enough suspense - we will be taking the Lemosho Route up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Kili is the highest mountain in Africa, with Uhuru Peak being the highest point.
It will be weird to have someone else carry all my gear, have someone cook my meals, and sleep in huts. But, that's the way it's done with the guides and porters, so it will be a new experience.
I'm hoping for clear weather so we can summit and have great views since I doubt I'd make another effort after this one.
After our climb, we will spend a week visiting communities in the area, and going on a couple short safaris. I've never been to Africa, so this is a very exciting opportunity to learn more and meet people on the other side of the world.
Many, I'd say MOST, people I've met on trail listen to music while they hike. It's a great way to help pass hours of walking, especially on the less interesting portions of long trails. And, with electronic music players so tiny and inexpensive, it's very easy to provide a little entertainment along your walk.
I've tried it on one long hike. My wife loaded some albums on my cellphone and showed me how to get it to play song after song, one after another, cycling through dozens of tunes. It was a big change to get used to for me.
I felt like I was insulated and missing out on the natural sounds around me. My stress raised a bit because I wondered if something important was happening around me that I didn't notice - like a snake, mountain lion, or bear sneaking up on me. Or, more seriously on roads, a car approaching - I'd never consider plugging my ears on a road walk.
So, I don't listen to music much while hiking. Do you? Has it ever caused you any problem?
The fact that I don't have earbuds in doesn't mean I don't enjoy songs while hiking. I will often hum or even try to sing songs, especially ones that have a beat close to my footsteps. I've found that can really help me keep my pace going longer and I think it helps me do more miles. I tend to sing out loud more when I'm solo hiking in remote areas - I once had a summer job peeling paint off camp buildings just by singing at them.
Here's a very old song that pops into my head when I'm plodding up a long hill, or sometimes a never-ending flat section. I guess it's kind of my Hiking Mantra. It gives me energy, lightens my mood, and makes walking fun again. Plus, it can make the hot sun feel a little cooler.
What about you? Do you have any favorite songs you like to sing out loud, or just listen to for motivation, when hiking? Maybe I can give yours a listen.
Hey, last night we talked to a couple dozen people at our church about our PNT thru-hike, and it got recorded. So, if you have 45 minutes (or more) to spend, you can have a look.
Yesterday, we had a fun time talking about our PNT thru-hike to a standing room only crowd of about 70+ folks at the Midwest Mountaineering Expo. It was entertaining to remember and joke about things that happened along the trail.
One of the things that continues to pop into my mind often is the first day in Glacier when Josh fell off the trail. It makes for a great story now, but was about the scariest moment I can recall from all my miles on trail so far.
Traversing a steep snowfield, he slipped and slid for more than 50 feet to the rocks at the bottom. From my view above him, I only saw a cloud of ice crystals as he tried to dig in with his feet and hiking pole handles to slow down. Pretty helpless feeling, just standing there and watching him hurtle towards the end of the snow where it turned to rock.
When he hit the rocks at the bottom, the cloud of ice turned into a cloud of dust. I've hit rocks at the bottom of a glissade before, and it is very dangerous! Luckily, it was all smaller shale and not solid rocks and boulders so he skidded on it to a quick stop.
As you can see, he took a beating with lots of cuts on hands and legs, but nothing deep. I checked him out and all his joints and muscles still worked, and there was little bleeding, so we climbed back up to the trail past the snowfield.
A few weeks later, all the cuts were healed and scarred (which he still has) and they are a reminder of how a split-second can change a fun time into an emergency. Even being trained, cautious, and aware, accidents can still happen so you should have some wilderness first aid skills before going into the wilds.
Oh yeah, we're presenting about our PNT hike this Wednesday at our home church so that should be fun to see what our friends ask us about. :-)
Outdoor Expo Talk
Josh and I will be presenting about our Pacific Northwest Trail hike at the upcoming Spring Outdoor Expo in Minneapolis, MN on April 28 at 11:45am.
See details HERE.
There are lots of other interesting talks to attend at the Expo. If you're in the area, it's a great way to spend the day.
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