I am not an expert in hiking, but I am writing this post just so you don't have to face the problems that we had to in our first time. We hiked along The Guadalupe Peak trail which is 8.5 miles round trip and this post is completely based on small trekking tours( 8-12 miles).
The suggestions are completely from my experience.
1. Do check the weather before you hike - The weather changes drastically as you ascend more. Bring layers/ jackets because you will definitely need one. The lower elevations were warm enough in our Guadalupe Mountain trail but it was too cold and windy up the summit.
2. Hiking Shoes- Invest good in your hiking shoes. The trail we climbed was full of loose stones, broken rocks and steep cliffs and you need good grip for that.
3. Light Clothing - Wear something light and comfortable. You may want to carry an extra shirt if you sweat a lot. You will need a hat/cap for the lower elevations. I got a headache due to the scorching heat, then the hat really helped. Sunglasses are a must cause you get exposed to the broiling sun where there are no clouds.
4. Water and snacks: Definitely carry lots and lots of liquid. 3 litres of water will do, for one person cause you get de-hydrated as you ascend more. Snacks, biscuits and protein bars are a must as you'll need something to nibble on all along the way.
5. Medicines: You can add a few ibuprofens and aspirins to your kit for pain relief. You can also keep Band-aids and bandages for small cuts and scratches.
6. Camera: DSLRs are quite heavy so it's better if you carry it around the waist. The weight lightens if you rest it around the hip. Unfortunately we forgot our camera, one of our friends had his DSLR but it became too tough to carry it up to the summit so we hid the bag behind a bush( DON'T ever do that) and carried it back while descending down.
7. Don't hike alone - Always team up when you are going to hike. It doesn't seem much strenuous when you have people around. I would suggest carrying walking sticks, it helps a lot. Carry flash lights as well. Incase you forget flash lights make sure you have fully charged cell phones, it comes in handy.
8. Start early if you want to return back before sunset. Schedule your trip that way. We started late (12:00 pm) and it was pretty dark when we started climbing down the summit. Guadalupe is the home of mountain lions and rattle snakes and I was trying to have a quick chat with Almighty so that we reach back safe. Trust me, we were so damn scared.
Please do not smoke while you hike and never throw cigarette butts anywhere. It can be the cause of bush fires which is dangerous.
The view from the top of the peak was beautiful, we captured it with our cell phones. The joy of reaching the top just can't be explained in words unless you experience it yourself. It's like you have achieved something big. All the back pains and the pulled tendons are completely worth it.
This post was originally published on 'The Roy journal..'.