Preparing your body for a hike is one of the most overlooked things that causes hiking injuries. When you go hiking it is important to prepare your gear, plan your day, but always remember to prepare the most important thing… you!
Recently I went on Tamlin_GoHiking_Streama very intense hike and near the end, I had a lot of difficulty because I overlooked preparing the most important thing- myself. The hike up whistlers trail in jasper was an steep climb, and by the end I was so dehydrated that my leg muscles started cramping up. We finished the hike, but had to take a lot more rests than we would have needed to if I had come prepared.
When most people go hiking they come prepared and bring a lot of water along with them. What we sometimes forget though, is to stay hydrated in the hours, or even days prior to a tough hike. Just bringing water isn’t enough… before you go it is essential to ensure you are hydrated.
In this situation I had taken some medication the night before that had dehydrated me completely, and made the mistake of not drinking any water in the car on the way to the hike. In addition, I had a coffee that morning and a relatively salty breakfast so by the time I started the hike I was sucking down water very quickly.
By the time we reached the summit, our water was gone and we had no hope of making the three hour trek down. Very luckily, this particular trail was on the same mountain as the local gondola, so we were able to hitch a ride down. If we had been on any other trail however, the situation would have been much much worse.
The hike was a great experience overall, but it would have been even more enjoyable if I had just kept hydrated in the hours leading up to it. So always remember, when you go hiking, prepare your gear, do your research, but don’t overlook preparing the most important piece of equipment on the hike- your body.