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May-be You're Hiking Today?
May 24, 2018

May 2018: A Note From Diane

Time once again for Happy Trails!

Something a little different this month: along with the freshest resources, deals and news, I’m including 2 emails I received from readers who eloquently responded to questions I posed last month.

Is This Even For Real?

Look at the savings you can score on top hiking gear brands:

KEEN is trying to clear inventory on one particular style of women’s footwear, so they marked it down from $130 to $49.99! See if they still have your size. (Link no longer active)

REI has deals on three brands worthy of space in your backpack. These discounts won’t be around long: May 28th or until they run out of products.(Links no longer available)

And if you have camping plans coming up, check out these deals from BioLite:

20% off Biolite Camp Stove
25% off LED lights for your campsite

Fresh Hiking Resources For You

This month I pondered a lot of hiking topics. See if there’s something here that you can use for happy (or happier) trails!

Post Hike Recovery Tips
Trail Mix As Fuel
Hiking Foot Care Tips
How To Avoid Heat Related Illness
Beginner Hiking Boots
Which Type Of Hiker Are You?
Best Hiking Vacation Trips
Book Review: Hiking Washington's Fire Lookouts

Outdoor Industry Degree

Last month I highlighted a way to get a masters degree while spending a lot of time outdoors.

Here’s another angle on an outdoor degree: Western State Colorado University in Gunnison CO has a new two-year, online MBA program.

Students must choose the product or service track of the outdoor recreation economy.

The program is geared (bad pun, I may or may not be sorry) around residencies, immersion opportunities, and guest lectures to expand and support the on line content delivery.

Outdoor Industry MBA

We Are So Healthy!!

Hikers already know this, but it’s nice when the media starts paying attention to how the outdoors is directly related to good health. This article shares 12 science backed reasons why spending more time outside is healthy.

Healthy Outdoors

Social Media & Hiking Trails Revisited

Should we be sharing our favorite hiking spots with newbies? How does it feel to watch our beloved trails be trashed and overused?

These were the questions I posed last month, and Erica from Tasmania took time to write a thoughtful answer. Seems like these issues affect hikers everywhere!

With her permission:

Hi Diane,

This is a bit long-winded, but wished to share my thoughts re:Instagram/social media and hiking.

I live in Tasmania, Australia. We have excellent hiking here but some of it is quite difficult in terms of sudden changes of weather and difficult terrain to navigate if you get lost. For this reason, the questions you raised have been raised here also, particularly for World Heritage Areas.

There's been a notable increase in the number of hikers, rubbish, and increase in foot traffic enhancing the degradation of trails (we have lots of mud and new hikers who don't wear gaiters will tread new paths and wear down the side of trails).

At the worst extreme, we have visitors who while attempting difficult-in-any-season hikes (e.g. the remote Western Arthurs) with a cheap tent from Kmart and not enough provisions, had to be evacuated by a rescue chopper.

We have faced similar issues here with the new popularity of down hill mountain biking (more people, more damage, more accidents, etc.).

This is quite frustrating to seasoned hikers, however, as much as this seems common (as we tend to focus on and remember negative events), these incidents, so far, are few and far between, according to paramedics/rescue personnel. Most calls they get are from well prepared hikers, with an EPIRB, who have broken their legs/limbs unfortunately.

While it's irritating to see our favourite trails crowded and ruined, I think we should try for inclusivity and encourage new hikers. I think the best we can do, as novice or seasoned hikers, is to freely share our photos and stories, to help spread more love for the outdoors, and when we do share try to educate on: correct gear,adequate preparation, responsibility to the environment, respect for other hikers.

Sharing our enthusiasm and knowledge of the outdoors might help novices take better beginning steps.

Some hikers I've met seem to want to exclude people from hiking, the "I was here first" mentality, and while I understand the feeling when your favourite trails become crowded, I also remember being an absolute beginner hiker, feeling shunned by the more experienced crowd for being a newbie, but persisting anyway.

As fads/trends come and go, those few chasing the perfect Instagram photo for likes will perhaps (hopefully) move onto something else when a new fad comes along, or perhaps learn from their mistakes when they're hiking snow covered mountains in Ugg-boots. The magnitude of the danger of them doing so is high, but the likelihood is hopefully low, so they'll just come out of it with a sore ego (although there are obviously sad exceptions to this).

There'll always be a few bad apples in any hobby (the "all-the-gear-and-no-idea" or the "I'm above the rules" participants). For those there for more than just likes, who through Instagram/social media, have been inspired to try this new-fangled hiking they keep hearing about, I say we welcome them with open arms,and share our knowledge to perhaps create a new crowd of hikers, with respect for the outdoors.

Lastly, on a personal note, when I was a beginner I hated seeing rubbish on trails, couldn't believe the disrespect. Then I learned that it's up us to leave a hike better than we found it. "You accept the standard you're willing to walk past".

I now carry an extra bag for the rubbish, so that hikers coming after me might experience it the way it should be. It also made me take more responsibility for hiking and I try to pass on this mindset to others whenever they are receptive. Most people don't like being told what to do, Instagrammers will always Instagram, but for those eager few, it's up to us to set the standards.

Thanks for reading and for thinking about this issue and thanks, as always, for your newsletter.

Cheers, Erica

Thank you, Erica, for looking at this issue from all sides. Hit reply if you’d like to chime in on this!

New Discussion Topic: Rock Stacking

What’s your stance on rock stacking?

Not the navigational cairns that help with route finding, but the recreational and “artistic” stacks of rocks you see on river beds, stream banks, ridges, hilltops, and along the trail.

We’ve been kicking this around in the Over Forty Hiker community, so just wondering what your thoughts are!

Here’s a YouTube video by a hiker who gives several reasons for not stacking rocks:

Rock Stacking: Not A Good Idea

I couldn't find one in favor of the idea, but if you see one, please send it my way.

And speaking of cairns...

Cairn Testimonial

Wondering whether those monthly subscriptions to gear boxes are worth it? Me, too!

Cairn Subscription Boxes: Good Idea Or Not?

In response to my question in last month's Happy Trails, Devin casts a vote for “definitely worth it”. With his permission:

Hello! In re: Cairn boxes, my wife and I have been getting Cairn boxes for almost a year and we LOVE them.

We just get the basic level boxes and thanks to them we now have a water bladder (one of us had one already, so now we both do!), a hammock with incredible fasteners, some great trail gear for our dog and tons of other stuff.

They also recently sent out a giant return envelope for the stuff we've been sent that we won't use or other new/gently used hiking gear so they can put that stuff back out into the community.

To me, the value of this box is unbelievable. It's also a great way to be able to try some hiking and camping gear that we never would have bought for ourselves.

Every box comes with a hiking snack that I know I never would have tried otherwise... basically the Cairn box has really helped us decide what we do or don't want/need when we're out and about! We really look forward to them every month!

Any opposing views out there? Or if you're ready to grab your own Cairn box:


HFH Giveaways

Two giveaways you might want to take a look at:

A fun (some would call it charming) bracelet: Scare The Bear Giveaway Details

And an exclusive giveaway for the readers of this monthly newsletter, to celebrate ten years of Hiking For Her.

You need the password SAFETY and the link below to enter for your chance to win a basic first aid kit (I carry one just like it).

Exclusive Giveaways PW Protected

Whoa!! Too Much Information?

Things went a bit long this month. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

And don't forget, you have a standing invitation to join our private community. We're adding self-paced classes, with our first topic being how to make the mental transition into solo hiking.

Join Our Over Forty Hiker Community

Wishing you lots of sunshine, warm breezes, plenty of stamina and energy as you hit the trail this month!

Happy Trails always,

Diane a.k.a. Happy Hiker

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