View Full Version : beginner hiker

12-26-2009, 09:40 AM
A couple of months ago I had open heart surgery. I have been walking 3-6 miles a day (streets) for my rehab. I actually look forward to doing my walk but I have developed foot problems from it. I am not sure if it's from walking the hard surface of roads or not. I have flat feet which I am sure is contributing to it. I have decided in the spring to start trail hiking which I am very excited about. What boots, poles, backpack and any other equipment do people recommend? My goal this year is to hike Mt Washington.

12-26-2009, 03:52 PM
Boots ... something that provides arch support for your foot, something that is wide enough to permit some minor swelling and also has ankle support (no low cut hikers). Everyone has different feet so there are no specific brands I can suggest, however consider that you get what you pay for.

Poles are easy, just ensure that they are lightweight, adjustable and have a grip that is comfortable in your hand.

Backpack are the same as boots. What is comfortable for one person may be terrible for another. Aim for something fairly simple (smooth profile), made of decent lightweight material, has enough padding around the back and hip belt to be comfortable for you. I would suggest something around 40 litres in size. This way you can carry enough food and spare clothing for a day long hike (which is what Washington would certainly be for you).

When you hike in the mountains it is important to be prepared for ALL conditions, regardless of the time of year, and regardless of the weather forcast. Things change quickly up there. Always be sure to carry a waterproof/breathable jacket, some rain pants, sunscreen (you burn easier the higher you go), sunglasses, hat, water, high energy snacks and a map.

Again, this all depends on how long you plan on being out but always be prepared to be out longer in the event of a problem. It's better to be over prepared than under prepared.

12-26-2009, 06:00 PM
Given your medical history make sure you don't hike alone. Bring extra medications in the event you get stuck. And absolutely make sure you are mentally prepared to turn back if you start to feel the need. Don't push on to prove a point because you can always try again.

Snow Miser
12-27-2009, 10:24 AM
If haven't done so already, have you checked with your doctor to see if he/she has given you the green light to do hiking by the spring time? If they have, my advice would be to pick relatively short, easy hikes at first, then work your way up to more difficult ones as your endurance allows. Good luck! Post some photos and TRs on here. We love seeing them.

12-27-2009, 01:11 PM
I picked up a really good trail map of the White Mt National Forest at EMS in N Conway yesterday. It has a plastic coating. But, even more important it shows the distances for each leg of a hike. This would be very good for planning short starter hikes.

12-28-2009, 05:34 PM
If you have the go ahead from the doc, why wait until spring. There are sure to be many conservation areas near where you live that will be well broken out in the winter.

I too was having issues with running on the street, so I switched to hiking in the woods. Even with much of the deep snow cover that Central Mass had last year, I was able to bareboot all winter, by using snowmobile paths and well consolidated trails. I even went off trail in deep snow to simulate off-trail hiking and to get a better workout. The snow in most areas South of the WMNF is pretty thin right now and can be hiked without snowshoes.

The snow hiking is good for your ankle strength (and helps with your skating skills) and is much more fun than avoiding traffic on the roads. Many places will have lots of foot traffic if you are worried about being alone "in the woods" (or just go with a buddy).