As the parks begin to open in the Rocky Mountains, you are thinking about dusting off your hiking gear and hitting the trails. Nothing can compare to the incredible beauty of the western mountain range, but it’s essential to prepare for your trip to ensure a pleasant experience. Packing the right gear and familiarizing yourself with the potential hazards of the environment will help you enjoy the journey.
1. Pack Plenty of Water
Water is an essential item of your supplies. For a long hike in the Rockies, pack plenty of purified water. Avoid drinking directly from water sources and use a portable purifier to filter the mountain water. In case you experience a purifier malfunction, pack a bottle purifier of tablets as a backup. Dehydration is not an uncommon occurrence for hikers, but if you take short breaks every couple of hours to drink water, you will stay hydrated and healthy.
2. Pack Energy Bars and Supplements
Whether you are hiking on a nine-hour day hike or traveling for several days on the trail, you need the energy to pull you through the trip. Hiking in the mountain burns far more calories than a walk on level ground. Your energy level quickly declines when you traverse steep inclines and multiple natural obstacles. If you want to maintain a high level of energy throughout your hike, pack energy bars and an organic energy booster like Tony Horton supplements.
3. Bring Raingear
Inclement weather is never a fun experience when you are hiking in the Rockies, but if you plan for it, you can avoid becoming a soggy mess on the trail. In the Spring and early Summer, thunderstorms can appear out of nowhere and shatter your serene hike. To stay dry and clean on the path, be sure to bring premium raingear and an inexpensive waterproof covering for your backpack. Most backpacks are waterproof, but it is wise to have an extra layer of protection for your gear during a heavy storm. If you are planning on hiking in the mountains for several days, bring two pairs of raincoats. Pack an extra light coat that is easy to compact in your pack in case of a continuous rain event.
4. Bring a First Aid Kit
Hopefully, you or your group will not encounter a medical emergency on your trip, but it is a good idea to have a well-supplied first aid kit in your pack. In addition to the standard supply of bandages, alcohol swabs and gauze, you should include sanitizer, moleskin, waterproof matches and an emergency blanket. The moleskin, in particular, is an item hikers often forget to pack. If you develop a blister from a new pair of hiking boots, you can apply a moleskin wrap to soothe and protect your aching feet for the remainder of the hike.
5. Be Aware of the Wildlife
Whenever you venture out into the wilderness in the Rockies, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the nearby wildlife. The Rocky Mountains are home to a diverse group of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds and insects. Although most mountain creatures will not aggressively attack hikers who mind their business, on rare occasions, a severe confrontation may occur. Refrain from feeding the wildlife and keep your food and water supplies sealed in airtight containers. The black bears, bobcats, mountain lions and coyotes are not threatening if you view the animals from a safe distance. Respect the wildlife and its environment, and you will unlikely experience an unwanted encounter.
6. Wear Comfortable Boots
Your feet take a beating when you hike from eight to ten miles a day in rocky terrain. If you want to avoid painful blisters, you should purchase high-quality hiking boots and break them in before you go hiking. When your feet are comfortable, you can focus on the beauty around you.
Spring is the best time of year to enjoy a long hike through the incredible Rocky Mountains. Although some areas of your hike may challenge you, if you are well prepared, you will never forget your trip to the mountains.