Sunday, May 8, 2016

Beginner Hiking-Backpacking Class

I will start by saying....
First and foremost this class was FREE!
For Christmas My awesome Mama bought me a membership to the AMC-Appalachian Mountain Club. I am generally a hike alone kinda girl but if you are going to do that I think you need to stay smart. There is only 1 brain to pick for knowledge. Even though my feet like to be on the ground as much as I can lately I am definitely new and I definitely want to expand so this class would be a start.
I drove out to Foxboro for a 9am to 4 pm class.  9-noon was aimed at hiking and after lunch would be backpacking.
I was first surprised at the amount of women in the class. I would estimate it to be about 2/3-3/4 women also the class started with about 25+ people. After they fed us a delicious lunch and we got into heavy backpacking talk I turned around and was surprised to see almost an empty room behind me. I would say we lost maybe half the class.

The class was taught by 3 volunteer members of the local Southern Mass Chapter. They were friendly, knowledgeable and funny. They also showed 3 different aspects of hiking. It was great.
One man had been hiking for over 30 years and just did it with what worked. One man was more middle of the road with a decent (self-described) gear addiction. He also was more of an expert about wildlife and "Leave no Trace". The third member was a woman who was a pretty avid hiker and she had top notch gear and lots of it. She talked about searching for deals but money clearly wasn't an issue for her.
We were handed a 13 page booklet and I was shocked at all they would cover. They also each had 1-2 8foot tables with gear everywhere. At each break they allowed questions and let us touch their junk.
This class worked so much better for me. I am easily overwhelmed with all this reading of websites but listening to them and seeing it in hand was great.
The hiking topics ran from clothing, packs, weather, safety, bathroom breaks, food/water and what to bring on different types of trips. I can't even go into all that was discussed and the personal stories to go along with it.
They had a nice lunch and while we ate each person started up their stoves. I think 4 total mostly were used to cook and they were all the same type fueled by a small gas canister but they collectively had probably 8-10 varieties to look at. A member dropped in unexpectedly with his food dehydrator and we talked food for a decent amount of time and he let us try some of his barks and leathers. Also Ann made 2 meals with her own dehydrated food and stoves. In no time we were trying Thanksgiving dinner and Shepard's Pie. I would like to add that I could easily make some of this even without the dehydrator.
They also had 2 tents and a hammock set up for us to see. Throughout the class mentioning the curve of balancing money for weight and size. This is a constant sliding scale for most I think, me particularly.
At the end of both segments they offered a hike or backpack series. 4-5 hikes thru the Summer that gradually increase in difficulty. I really am hoping to get in on some of these if I can. One plus is the hike chairwoman stated I would still be able to participate if I didn't have all my backpacking gear. They usually can pair people up to share gear. At this point I need a lot but hope to have a sleeping set up soon. This would at least afford me the ability to Hut camp.
I am excited. Wait, aren't I always excited? Well Hell, if you can't be excited and find something you have fun doing what else are we doing all this life, work, breathing thing for?

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Race Results

09/07/07 Main Street Mile 11:44
05/18/08 YPD 5k 52:57 17:05
06/14/08 Walpole Village 5K 35:27 11:26
06/21/08 Mashpee Fun Run 34:21 11:05
07/19/08 Mashpee Woodlands 36.49 11:52
08/10/08 Falmouth Road Race 1:29:31
08/25/08 Women Running Wild 35:40 11:30
10/25/08 Mashpee Firefighters 37:47 12:10
05/02/09 Cape Abilities 5K 34:59 11:17
05/17/09 YPD 5K 36:41 11:50
08/09/09 Falmouth Road Race 7mi 1:37
10/31/09 Mashpee Firefighters 5K 37:15 12:00
09/11/11 Main Street Mile 12:31
10/29/11 Screech to the Beach 5K 39.13 12:20
08/12/12 Falmouth Road Race 1:34:24 13:29
05/18/14 YPD 5k 44.25 14:17
06/1/14 June Jog 4mi 1:04 16:00
08/17/14 Falmouth Road Race 1:42:04 14:35
09/27/14 Girly Girl 5K 37:24 12:02
10/26/14 Pell Bridge Run 4mi 48:41 12:10
11/27/14 Turkey Trot in VA 5K 35:22 11:23
12/06/14 Jingle Jog 5K 34:42 11:11
03/29/15 Thomas Guinta Memorial 5K 34:14 11:03
04/19/15 St. Margaret's 5K 31:11 10:21
05/17/15 YPD Blues 5K 34:58 11:17
06/07/15 Newport 10 Miler 1:56:09 11:36
06/20/15 Mackenzie's 5K 33:55 10:54
08/17/14 Falmouth Road Race 1:33:51 13:24
10/31/15 Screech at the Beach 36:19 11:40
5/20/18 YPD Run to Remember 37.37 12:08