There is a coolness to the air, the leaves are turning golden yellow and scorching red. Mornings are now greeted with a layer of sparkling frost and you can see your breath floating in the air in front of you. Fall is a great time to hit the trails. There are no bugs, the stamina-crushing summer heat is no longer an issue, and the colours on the hills are incredible.
Your feet are perhaps the most important part of your body when it comes to hiking or backpacking. Hiking boots or shoes are readily available at any outdoors store. Pick a shoe that has a tough sole with an aggressive tread design and good ankle support. Also, when buying footwear for hiking, it is wise to go up a size; your feet will swell over the course of the day, causing your toes to jam into the front of your shoes or boots. Oboz Tamarac shoes are available in regular and wide widths and have a great tread design. They are available at MEC and retail for about $140.
For a step up in quality and fit, Lowa boots are at the top in quality and durability. They are flexible enough so that they require little to no break-in period. They can handle the added weight of packs over 35 pounds, or 16 kilograms. They retail around $250 and up.
For longer excursions, a boot with added ankle support is preferred, but not essential. It could help prevent a sprained or even broken ankle while hiking. Keep in mind when buying footwear whether you will be carrying a heavy pack or just a day pack. As a rule, when carrying over 20 pounds, or nine kilograms, the mid-sole of your footwear should be stiffer to compensate. Some of the higher-end models come with a carbon-fibre mid-sole, ultralight and very durable.
Hiking poles are great to have with you on the trail. When hiking for extended periods of time, your hands swell as a result of your heart pumping blood to feed your leg muscles oxygen. Your hands swell from the excess blood flow, making your hands feel stiff. Using hiking poles gives your arms and hands a small amount of exercise, using up some of the extra blood flow. Try it - you’ll notice a difference.
I'm a 44-year-old guy currently planning my first long-distance hike. It will start on the first of May, 2016, and will cover 2518 kilometres, from Echo Lake in California to Manning Provincial Park at the British Columbia border. This will be my biggest, grandest, most epic accomplishment in my life so far.