I can’t be the only CHAARG girl who fell in love with “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed this past year. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, it’s about a woman named Cheryl who finds herself on the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s heartbreaking. It’s funny. It’s real. Go pick up a copy if you’re looking for a solid summer read!
ANYWAY, after reading “Wild,” I got the hiking bug again. No, not a tick or a mosquito, but the need to actually get out into the real world, away from screens + silly, everyday problems — I needed me-time + I found it while hiking.
Hiking is a killer summer workout because it’s a change from your regular cardio routine + it lets you see a bit of the town you don’t normally get to see. From rocky terrain to unending hills, you’re likely to work muscles you don’t normally work on a run around the neighborhood. Doing the same workout over + over again won’t get you the results you’re looking for — whether it’s more muscle or losing a couple of inches. Your body adapts + you get less bang for your buck because your body begins to expect that sort of workout. But hiking is a great way to change up your fitness routine — challenge yourself by tackling the trail’s largest hill or longest stretch. Your body will thank you! Yes, being sore is the way your body shows its thanks.
Plus, throwing your shoes on + heading out on the trail has also been shown to improve your mood + alleviate stress. Overwhelmed with work or a summer class? Take an hour in a local park. You don’t need to dedicate days + days to the trail to be considered a *hiker*. Just going out for an hour at a time will give you the boost you need — trust me. Unplugging for a bit + getting out in the world is something we all should be doing more of. You’ll come back refreshed + ready to tackle whatever issue was giving you problems!
So what should you pack for your hike? That all depends on how long you’re planning on being out. Chances are, many of you aren’t planning on hiking as long + as far as Cheryl did in “Wild,” so going to the store + purchasing a massive pack + collapsible bowls might be excessive ; ) BUT, you do need to prep! Here’s a list of a #CHAARG girl’s must-haves for any hike…
Don’t leave the house in shoes that haven’t been broken in. You’ll get blisters + be miserable, which is exactly what we don’t want. Although, bringing a couple of band-aids just in case is never a bad idea.
Every blog post I write I talk about water. Have I gotten across how incredibly important it is yet? You will be sweating on this hike + you need to give your body back the water it has lost.
Ayyy! It’s summer. That means sunburns. Take care of your skin + be sure to put sunscreen on before you leave + during your hike. Don’t forget your scalp, ears + neck!
4] TRAIL MAP
Unless you’ve been hiking the same trail for years [+ if you have, try a new trail! : )], you likely are not familiar with your surroundings. Bring a map with you *just in case* you get turned around somewhere + make sure you know where the closest park office or ranger station is in case of emergency.
You’re movin’: you’re going to get hungry! Don’t head out without food! You’ll likely hike a couple of miles + your stomach will start to growl — FEED IT. You need energy to make it through the hike + back home. Why do you think there’s such thing as trail mix? ; )
6] BUG REPELLENT
If you live anywhere like Ohio, chances are it’s going to be buggy. The repellent may smell less than pleasing, but it’s better than coming home + realize you were eaten alive. We love using Off FamilyCare Insect Repellent I [Smooth + Dry].
7] CELL PHONE
Yes, I did talk about unplugging, but you should bring the phone for safety reasons. It doesn’t mean you should be texting the entire time you’re on the trail, but snapping a few photos in your CHAARG gear for insta wouldn’t be bad. ; )
There’s nothing worse than being at your furthest point in the hike + a surprise storm popping up. I hate wet socks + I’m sure you do too, so check make sure you check that weather app before you start your trek! Also, be sure to tell someone exactly where you will be hiking before you leave + when you expect to get back. For shorter hikes, this seems a bit over the top, but it’s essential for your safety.
Now get out there + embrace your inner trailblazer!
+ Grace [@gm.inchaarg], Kent CHAARG