All hiking aficionados will always dream of conquering some of the more popular and extremely challenging trails such as the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide trails. Some of the hardcore trail hunters may never even come close to reaching at least one of these major trails due to many factors such as money, time, and the challenges these trails offer. Nevertheless, for those that can make the necessary sacrifices and can come up with the necessary resources, here are some tips that can make your plans come to fruition.
- Research on the trails. Since these trails are quite popular and are considered the ultimate experience for most hardcore hikers, you will want to do some reading on the trail you are planning to go for. The Internet may have various websites and documentation regarding these trails. Online forums about the topic may even have people sharing their experiences while on the trail. Make sure to get as much information as you can about the trail. Remember to know how to get there, the best time to go there, and what you will need in terms of hiking gear and equipment if you plan to hike on the trail. It may be worthwhile to read specific hiking books that can be found in most bookstores. Bill Bryson, a known hiker and author has published a couple of books about the topic including his best seller, "A Walk in the Woods" which details his experiences on his Appalachian Trail experience. Do not forget to get yourself some maps and guidebooks on the area especially if you are scheduled to hike in the particular trail. Check out the trail websites such as appalachiantrail.org, pcta.org, and cdtrail.org for more information about the trail.
- Get in shape. These trails are very challenging which is why they are typically sought after by experienced hikers. Stamina and conditioning will be important if you plan to go on these trails. Running or jogging regularly for an hour a day should be good for your stamina. Obviously, constantly going hiking twice to three times week on challenging trails can increase your conditioning. Lifting weights can make your muscles strong enough to resist the challenges of the trail.
- Get your gear ready. Purchase and break in your hiking boots and make sure to wear comfortable hiking wear for the trail. Avoid using brand new boots for the major trail since this can only hurt your progress than help it. Make sure your pack is well-stocked complete with clothes, tent, stove, food, and water. For water, consider using a Camel backpack that you can wear like clothing but can store good amounts of water.
- Obtain permits and Visa. These trails may require various permits prior to hiking. State and city permits may be required so, make sure to check on these agencies. Check the trail website for more info on this and how to obtain the necessary permits. If you are traveling to these trails from a foreign country, then you will definitely need your passport and a Visa.
On the trail, make sure to track and monitor your progress based on elevation. In fact, your goal should be to reach a particular elevation. Completing the whole trail may be difficult especially if you are experiencing the trail for the first time.