take a hike

So you wanna hike a mountain with me?
Lately, I have been hiking mountains. I have actually been doing daily hikes for the past 10 months now but have recently stepped up my game in terms of time and distance. Previously, I was clocking in about 40 minutes four to five days a week with an easy to moderate incline but now I do almost four hours two to three times a week on a moderate to hard incline {for me anyways}. 

Grouse grind anyone?

The funny thing is, I actually hated hiking at first. Let's back up three years. I hiked the grouse grind {google it} for the very first time. It was awful. I was out of shape, hungry, poorly dressed, and I cried. I'm not even kidding. I finished it, barely, but I vowed never to do the grind again. And then I started hiking the chief {Google it}, but wouldn't finish the whole hike, and still didn't like it. But then, about ten months ago, I started hiking for a smaller amount of time on an easier trail. And liked it. I began pushing myself to go a bit further on harder inclines and really loved challenging myself. About three weeks ago, I decided to conquer the harder mountain trails. It still isn't easy for me but I am getting better and I am really enjoying it. 

I still consider myself a novice at it but wanted to share a few tips I learned {some the hard way} with you:

1. eat something. I'm not a nutritionist but common sense does prevail. If you will be hiking in the morning like I do, it's important to have a small breakfast. Whether that means a muffin, a bowl of oatmeal or a hard boiled egg, eat. Your body needs the calories from it. Obviously you don't want bacon and eggs and toast before as you will probably barf from exertion but having protein or carbs in an amount that will both satisfy you yet won't leave you feeling super full is best. Case in point: the first time I hiked the grind, I did so on an empty stomach. Not only was my body in panic mode from exercising hard, I was starving. It just made me miserable. All I could think about in between bouts of tiredness and crying was how I couldn't take another step because I was so hungry. And feeling nauseated. Never again.
 2. Wear appropriate footwear and clothes. Now don't go running out and spending a ton of cash on hiking gear yet {unless you want too}. But dress prepared. As you can see in the top photo, I am wearing running shoes. Not totally recommended but I find it easier for me to wear these as they are light and don't weigh me down and the bottoms are 'grippy' enough to prevent some slipping. Just don't wear converse like I did the first time. In terms of clothing, layers. No matter the time of year, you will sweat. In summer, a tank top under a long sleeve and in winter, a tank top under a long sleeve under a rain jacket. I had chose to wear an old see through tank under a thick hoodie the first time out and almost died from overheating. I couldn't take my hoodie off because I wasn't willing to show off my bra and boobs so I suffered. Now I wear a cheap tank that does the job. Don't forget a hat. Especially if you do trails that are open and not covered. I do two types of trails on my hikes: a covered one {like the grind} and an open one {usually by power lines}. If it's hot and sunny or cold and raining, having your head covered helps.
3. Water. Now, I try to carry the least amount of stuff as I possibly can. A water bottle is a pain in the ass to haul around but a necessity. 
4. Headphones. I don't always use them but it's nice to have if you feel like kickin' out the jams on mile seven.
5. A small snack. I pack trail mix or jerky. It's light, won't take up a bunch of room and satisfies my body by giving me much needed energy whether it's half way through or right after.

I use a small backpack to put my water, phone, and snack in. And my long sleeve shirt if it gets hot. And that's about it. I can't stand being weighed down so I keep it to a minimum. 

Once you get started, don't be afraid to challenge yourself by timing yourself and going a bit faster or further. And mix it up. Try different trails and inclines. And enjoy the views:

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