Jun 04,2016

People hike for many reasons; to get in shape, explore, get-away from the hustle and bustle or just to get some peace of mind. In the Backpacker's Handbook it reads:

Hikers only need to deal with a far more manageable set of concerns, each elemental in its simplicity: finding the easiest route, summoning the energy to walk that last mile or just selecting a good campsite, if they stay overnight. Hiking offers an abundance of lifes most repeatable pleasures, the ones that never grow stale: resting when you are tired, eating when you are hungry, drinking when you are thirsty and smashing a mosquito just before it bites.

Hiking is not something you do on a short notice. You need to be healthy and physically fit. I always have my physical up-to-date and get the green light from my family doctor. Being fit is very important when you are hiking either short or long distance.

I use the gym to strengthen my legs and upper body. You do not need to lift heavy weights to do this. Swimming, if available, is also good exercise. I also include short hikes during the week to keep in shape for my long hikes. A variety of different short hikes, especially in the foothills, will help when you have to hike on a trail that has several hundred or thousand feet of elevation gain. The Colorado Rocky Mountains provide some of the greatest hiking opportunities in the world. There are 54 mountains over 14,000 feet. According to Mountain Zone there are 3,671 mountain peaks in Colorado. That is a lot of hiking or climbing. Dont forget the many trails in Colorado, which are far too many to count. The 3 major trails are the Colorado Trail which is 480 miles, the Continental Divide Trail (759 miles in Colorado) and the American Discovery trail (from the SE corner it is 912 miles and the NE corner of Colorado it is 776 miles).

Colorado has a large number of National and State parks that have a large variety of trails to hike. There are National Monuments to visit as well. Visit the following website for more information: www.colorado.com. Hiking on the hundreds of trails in the state will allow you to see a large variety of mammals and birds. If you are lucky, you just might see a reptile or amphibian. The mountain flowers are too numerous and will be on most trails throughout the state.

It is important to remember that natural disasters such as landslides, avalanches and fires do occur in the Colorado Rockies on many occasions. Always check with the appropriate agency in the area you plan to visit. It is advisable to purchase a map before venturing into the mountains. Trails are sometimes rerouted and/or no longer exist. Local outdoor stores carry just about every map you will need. If they don't, they will tell you where to get it. Just make sure you know how to read it.

Camping is permitted in most of Colorado's back country. Always check for posted rules and regulations at the trailheads. Colorado has been in a drought for many years and the fire danger can be extremely high in some areas. Always check with the Forest Service before you start a campfire. If you dont, it is possible to get a ticket from a Forest Ranger. Not knowing the policy will not get you out of the fine. With the increase of people going to the mountains, it is important to Leave No Trace which keeps the outdoors in its primitive state for the next generation and many more. Visit www.LNT.org and learn.

Hydration is very important. You should be hydrated days before you go on a hike. Your body needs water to operate and function properly. If you are dehydrated, you can have many problems such as cramping, loss of energy, dark urine, fatigue and hypothermia. All of these symptoms can ruin your hike. When you are on your hike, you must drink water often, even if you are not thirsty. Waiting until you are thirsty, means that you are dehydrated! I always carry a 100 ounce camelback and an extra container for water. I also keep extra water in my vehicle for after my hike, because I have ran out of water before reaching the trailhead to leave.Hiking gear and equipment is also important. For more information click HIKING GEAR.

I recommend that all visitors to the Colorado Rockies purchase a Search and Rescue card when hiking in the mountains. If you get lost, the Search and Rescue teams in that respective area will come and find you. If you have a Colorado fishing or hunting license then you are covered and dont need the CORSAR card.

Purchase a one year CORSAR card for $3.00 at:

Colorado Mountain Man