Fall is upon us, and that spells hiking season. In much of the country, the crispness and briskness beckon hikers, while for the rest, it’s finally cooled down enough to enjoy the great outdoors.
Hiking makes for great exercise and burns serious calories, anywhere from 300-600 an hour depending on various factors. Here’s a calories burned hiking calculator. Hiking also makes for a grueling trek depending on the type of hiking, trail and geography.
There are 2 main types of hiking, day hiking and thru-hiking. Day hiking doesn’t require overnight stays or camping. Thru-hiking involves walking a long-distance trail from end-to-end in one hiking season. Popular examples are the Appalachian trail, and take weeks or months to complete.
We’ll be focusing on training for day hiking as it’s more popular.
Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park
Posterior Chain Guard
Hiking taxes your posterior chain to the max. If you don’t know already, your posterior chain includes:
Hiking uphill, downhill and over rough terrain places great stress on these muscles. I know, I did a heroic amount of hiking on a road trip earlier this year, which I’ll touch on later.
Being an avid hiker, here’s a workout I developed to guard your posterior chain and have it geared up for arduous day hikes.
1. Weight Vest Lunges
2. Sandbag Trainer Step Ups
3. Band Walks
4. Goblet Squats
5. Kettlebell Deadlift
6. Single Leg Glute Bridges
Here are some additional resources to go to for your hiking training.
Here's a thorough training tutorial from Backpacker.com.
Gore-Tex also offers this simple 6 exercise hiking training program.
If you're in the market for a longer program, these 10 movements might be for you.
Finally, if thru-hiking is your thing, REI does it right with their guide.
I love to go hiking. I try and make it to 1 national park a year. This year I took a road trip to Big Bend National Park in west Texas, one of the lesser visited national parks.
I made a BIG mistake going at the end of May/early June.
Do NOT go at this time of year, unless you enjoy sweltering heat that will make your face melt off and test your mettle to the max.
I stayed in Terlingua, and every day it hit 115 degrees!
I don't think I ever used a Camelbak more in my entire life.
Moon dotting a sky over Terlingua at dusk.
I went out there to hit the famous South Rim trail, that looks out over the Rio Grande, into Mexico.
The isolation and desolation of the area envelop you, plunging you into ethereal tranquility.
The raw, savage character of the land, although designed to kill you, seduces you with primal beauty.
Wide open terrain, with views for miles, instills a feeling of unbridled freedom.
I drove out to Big Bend National Park and got to the South Rim trailhead at 4 am, to make the ascent at the coolest part of the day.
Surreal hiking alone in the desert under a full moon.
I tell you, there's no feeling that compares to hiking alone at night, under a full moon, in a desert that bears and mountain lions call home.
I made the ascent and got to the Emory Peak spur trail right around dawn to see this...
"The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness."- John Muir
I hiked, trudged and trekked and finally made it to the South Rim.
I spilled out of this hilly, grassy plain and got smacked in the face with this:
The picture doesn't do justice to the "peak" feeling.
The view from the South Rim, as you can see above, astounded me. The majestic feeling of seeing the Rio Grande and Mexico sprawled out in front of you makes life awesome.
Unfortunately, I had to finish my hike back to the Chisos Basin. Thankfully, at alpine altitude, the heat drops by a couple dozen degrees or so.
Once I made the descent, the heat took off again. I made it back to the lodge around 1 pm, doing the 16-mile hike in 9 hours.
That's what I felt like finishing that hike. It's not a hike for the weak-willed. I highly recommend it for those in great shape with grit and moxie.
A hike like that does wonders for your self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.
If you're interested in giving yourself a similar powerup, here are 49 trails in the U.S. to hit during fall.
If adaptive athletes can do it, so can you.
Thanks for reading Fringe Nation. If you have any pro tips, comments, feedback or input, let us know in the comments below. If I missed or muffed anything, corrections are more than welcome too.
Have a great day and stay awesome!
I hold hiking "deer" to my heart.