Having zero experience in backpacking, I had to do research before going out on the trail, but our first backpacking date snuck upon me, and I was not thoroughly prepared. So, naturally, I made some mistakes. On this page, I will keep track of my mistakes and what I learned from them. If anyone has any suggestions or would like to share your own mistakes, please do!
- Have something you can rely on to track your progress.
When I went on my first section hike, I didn’t think about a mileage tracker until a couple days before the hike. Therefore, I wasn’t ready to invest into a good one, and I purchased a cheap $5 pedometer. I should have known better! For the first three miles, it was only off by less than a half of a mile. After a short break, we continued hiking and the next time I checked it, it said we had only gone .02 miles! I was sure we had done more than that! If this thing was accurate, we will never reach the campsite by nightfall. We both began to freak out a bit, and I slowly began to realize it was definitely not working and we had no idea how far we had gone or how much farther we had left. The problem? It made the hike more stressful, as we couldn’t gauge our progress.
Next time, I will be sure to invest in something that can keep track of our progress. And it probably won’t be a pedometer. Someone I met on the trail told me about an app called Guthooks, which can be used while your phone is on airplane mode. It shows exactly where you are on the trail, where the next way point is, and the elevation. This looks like it will make our next hike much easier!
- If you have long hair, do something to keep it from tangling.
Since my first hike was only 2 days, I didn’t bring a hairbrush. However, for the first couple miles, there was a lot of uphill hiking, and I sweated a lot on my back. My hair was hanging down and it soaked up the sweat. When I got home the next day and showered, the knots would not come out of my hair until I smothered them with conditioner and ran the brush through while the conditioner was still in it! It took me about a half an hour to get them out!
Next time, I plan to take better care of my hair. I can wrap a bandanna around all of my hair or I can braid it or style it.