Thursday, January 24, 2008

4 Steps to an Enjoyable Hike

Some people have fought many years of their lives to preserve the rich heritage of the outdoors and nature we now enjoy. That dedication and effort have been rewarded by fantastic hiking opportunities in our local, state, and national parks systems. In honor of their efforts, let's break out of our winter hibernation and venture into the crisp, clean outdoor air and hit some of those dirt trails.

Here are 4 steps to an enjoyable hike, no matter where your feet decide to take you.

1. Know the area you will be going into. Although many states, like California, Colorado, or Wyoming have exceptional hiking hot spots, even your local park will have some kind of useful information. Whether it's a website with information and trail details, or a map at the park office, trailhead, or visitor center, always check before you head out on your hike so you know what to expect.

2. Know the conditions you will be facing, wherever you go. Nothing is worse than traveling to a hiking destination only to miss the hike, because it was raining or freezing and you weren't prepared. If the trail is flooded out, or snowy conditions have shut it down for an extended period, you should be able to find this out as well. It is also good to know if there are any plants or animals to watch out for at your hiking location. Wiping with poison ivy won't feel good in the morning.

3. Wear clothing that works and fits the terrain and hike conditions. There are many options in your clothing arsenal, to keep yourself comfortable, here are a couple of pointers: - Try and stay away from cotton. Instead, look for synthetic and natural fibers that pull moisture away from your body, or at least stay warm when wet. - Also, go for layers to keep yourself warm, versus carrying around a huge parka, in case you are hit by a freak snowstorm. - The two most important pieces of clothing for any hiker, are good socks and good shoes. Don't underestimate the pain a hike can cause with uncomfortable shoes and socks. Finally, a hat in cold weather is a great addition, since your body loses over half its heat through your head.

4. In addition to knowing the weather conditions, you will need to be prepared with a first aid kit that matches the hiking you will be doing. In most cases a simple kit will do. You can pick up a simple first aid kit at a local department or sporting goods store. Or you can build you own, which should include these basics: - Different sizes and shapes of bandages and gauzes. - Various types of tape for wounds or fixing tools. - Suntan lotion. - A light emergency blanket (preferably with some kind of water resistance). - Aspirin, allergy, laxative, and anti-diuretic medications. - Small multi-use tool with a knife, scissors, and a needle and thread. - A cell phone can come in very handy in emergencies. It is recommended that you pack all of this in a waterproof bag or container.

These tips should ensure a comfortable, short hiking adventure.

"Camping" In An RV For Fun And Adventure

Camping for most people means a tent and sleeping on a mat on the ground. If that doesn't really appeal to you, then camping in an RV is what you need. It is the ultimate camping adventure.
RV's come in many sizes and shapes. They start with campers that fit in the back of a pickup truck. These can have full kitchens, beds, a shower and toilet in them.

Next there are van conversions called Class B motorhomes that are basically a cargo van converted into a camping vehicle. These can have a raised roof for more head room. They also contain the same amenities as the truck camper.

Next up is the Class C motorhome. The front end looks like a pickup truck, but the similarity ends there. There is a sleeper extension over the cab and the back end looks like any motorhome you are probably familiar with. Basically a cargo box with windows, but much prettier. The Class C has all the amenities of home. A kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room. You could live in a Class C.

The next step us is the Class A motorhome. This is roomiest of all motorized RVs. These motorhomes are like a mini one bedroom apartment. They are fully self contained. From the queen sized bed to the dinette that seats four people you find luxury. A refrigerator and stove are complimented by a microwave oven. You might even have an ice maker capable of making over 20 pounds of ice a day. Party ready!

If that weren't enough choices, there are still the trailers. First is the travel trailer you can pull behind a larger sedan or SUV. Then the 5th wheel trailer that hooks into the back of a pickup truck. Both of these trailers are equally as luxuriant as the best motorhome. An advantage is they cost a lot less.
You can buy new or used. Whichever way you choose, you should do a lot of research on the internet first. Learn all you can about RVing. There are RV forums that you can find by doing a search in your favorite search engine.

When you decide that an RV might be for you, attend an RV show or two. There are major RV shows at fairgrounds and stadiums where many dealers and vendors are selling every type of RV there is. There are also local RV shows usually put on by one or two dealers to show and sell some of their inventory.

If you really are not sure you would like to spend $40,000 or $250,000 on a hobby you are not sure you would like, buy a used RV. You can get into RVing in a 34 foot used Class A motorhome for under $10,000.

The older and larger the motorhome the less fuel efficient it will be. You may get 5 to 7 miles per gallon on many older motorhomes. 7-9 mpg is realistic for mid 1990's motorhomes and up to 12 miles a gallon on new ones.

Camping in an RV is a fun adventure awaiting you and your family.