Have you ever had one of those days on the trails where you’re clumsy and you can’t seem to get your footing right?
Add a heavy pack, a little bit of dehydration, and some altitude and all of a sudden the simple act of crossing a boulder field or a stream becomes a daunting, ungraceful and often ugly task.
Earlier this spring I was hiking up Mount McConnell, it’s a fantastic hike with spectacular views.But there was still snow and ice on the ground and I lost the trail and ended up sliding my way down a massive pile of rocks. As I clumsily wandered up and over the rocks trying not to slip on the snow and twist my ankle I thought to myself, “this totally sucks.”
Since then I’ve been really focused on finding ways to be more surefooted on the trails. I think the key is to start with good balance, simple yoga poses like tree and dancer have helped my balance. It’s also important to hike with a balanced pack (unless of course that pack is carrying a squirmy trail baby who likes to lean to one side). It’s also fun to hike with poles, not only can they double as mountain lion protection devices but they can also make stream crossings a breeze. And there’s no need to go out and spend a bunch of money on fancy hiking poles, I hike with an old pair of cross-country ski poles without baskets.
But perhaps the hardest and most important lesson I’ve had to learn about climbing mountains is to not try to set any speed records but to adjust my pace for the terrain, the weather and my level of fatigue.
Now it’s your turn, how do you stay ‘surefooted’ on the trails? What are your tips to prevent clumsiness?