... continued from cover
to be out on the trail when you find out that a strap chafes your hips.
your only choice is to hike those miles back at some point. And when unexpected situations arise, like altitude sickness or dehydration, its best to be close to society. There are plenty of two- to three-mile trips that give you a chance to hike during the day, make camp for a night or two, and hike back out at your leisure. And you’ll probably be impressed with how even those few miles become challenging with your pack on. In the spirit of packing light, you’ll want only what you absolutely need on your trip, and some of the weight in your pack should be dedicated to keeping you warm. In desert regions, even when it’s 90 degrees by day, temperatures can drop significantly at night. As Renee Shippey, REI outdoor program coordinator and backpacking extraordinaire, reminds us, “It’s easier to stay warm than to get warm.” If rain is a concern, you will want a rain jacket, and gloves and a hat may also be useful. L ayering will be your friend .
On multi-night trips, you’ll often wear the same clothing for most of the trip. If you’re on an extended trip and need to wash your clothes, a quick rinse in running water is the most environmentally friendly way to do it. C onsider a class or a guided trip for your first time . REI offers many backpacking classes, as does the Northwest Outdoor Leadership School and many other recreation companies across the nation. For your first trip, programs like these might be a good option to learn the basics under the tutelage of an outdoorsman, and at the same time, you’ll get to test out a lot of the essential equipment to learn what you like. Remember, part of the joy in backpacking is experiencing nature free of most of your possessions, so don’t worry about having the newest gear your first time out. You’ll burn even more calories when you’re having a good time. Plus, you’ll return more confident about what you want on the next trip. Happy trails!
C onsider a shorter route .
It’s tempting to choose that alluring 12-mile loop across alpine lakes. After all, the internet raved about its gorgeous views! But if it’s your first trip, consider a route that sounds easy. You can always plan a longer route for your next trip, but once you’ve hiked eight miles out,
Lies You’ve Been Told
FICTION THAT HOLDS TOO MUCHWEIGHT
Fallacies are fed to us on a daily basis, and some are more believable than others. Here are a few popular misconceptions.
Y ou U se O nly 10 P ercent of Y our B rain
C racking Y our K nuckles W ill C ause A rthritis
Your brain is constantly in use. Every single action you perform, including digestion, coughing, speaking, thinking, and breathing, are all carried out by processes in the brain. There are levels of consciousness that cause parts of your brain to be less active than others, but there isn’t one singular area that ceases to work for any long period of time.
Studies show that there aren’t any dangers to cracking your knuckles, besides annoying someone with the noise. For a long time, many speculated that the cause of the cracking or popping noise was either the resetting of joints and tendons or the formation of fluid that lubricates the joints. Dr. Donald Unger was the first person to conduct an experiment with the hypothesis that cracking your knuckles doesn’t lead to arthritis. He cracked only the knuckles in his left hand for over 50 years. Later in life, both hands were arthritis-free.
T he G reat W all of C hina I s V isible F rom S pace
While the size of the Great Wall is truly spectacular, that doesn’t mean it can be seen from outer space. It’s not at all visible from the moon, and even from low orbit, it’s difficult to spot the wall with an unaided eye. According to NASA, the theory was first shaken by Yang Liwei, a Chinese astronaut, who said he was unable to see the Great Wall from space. Later, a camera with a 180 mm lens and a 400 mm lens captured the wall from a low orbit.
Y ou E at S piders W hile Y ou S leep
You may have heard this chilling myth before, but it’s simply not true. Spiders are very sensitive to vibrations — they won’t willingly approach a breathing or snoring human. It isn’t in our eight-legged friends’ nature to crawl into a person’s mouth.
2 • www.powerptsm.com
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