When I studied abroad in the French Alps, I learned the hard way that I was scared of heights. I really have not done much hiking or mountaineering since, but last year I purchased a pair of on sale Gortex hiking boots that changed my life. In France, I was wearing a pair of gripless Nike ID 6.0s, when I should have been rocking my current New Balance hiking shoes. I’m still a bit slow on the decent, but I have a definite new found confidence in tackling any terrain.
But in reality, the most important thing I gleaned from my weekend hiking trips with my host dad in France is that a hike is no hike without a picnic. I honestly think he went hiking so often because he just wanted a scenic lunch spot. Every hike he would pack a baguette, some ham, leftover cheese, a tomato, fruit, and some sweets. So when I went hiking with my cousin in Bear Mountain in New York, I did exactly the same.
But packing snacks for a long hike takes much more than just a fine picnic. When you’re on the move in a dynamic environment, you may not realize that you need to rehydrate. But once you start drinking, your body will tell you that you need more and you don’t want to be halfway through a few mile trail with just a standard 16oz bottle of water because it may just not be enough. And if it’s sunny out and you are sweating double, you should remember to replenish yourself with some electrolytes. So bringing some snacks that are high in water content, like fruit, or something with carbohydrates and protein on the way could help boost your energy.
We followed a trail but got lost a total of three times, which I think added approximately an extra two hours and at least 3-4 more miles to our planned 5 mile trek. There was a significant amount of forestry, climbing, and not to mention backtracking, but we finally made it to the scenic viewpoint including a glimpse of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River. Only, it wasn’t even the original picnic spot we were aiming for because, yup, we were lost. Regardless, we were still able to construct our sandwiches, re-energize for the long way back, and probably ruin some ecosystem by feeding some ant families leftover cheese.
It was an eventful hike with snakes, caterpillar colonies, and lots of ants, and I can only wish to make it back to see the views during autumn for the foliage… with a very generous picnic packed, of course!