How I Fuel for Long Hikes

Packing enough food for a long hike is so important. Fueling adequately beforehand is also key. It is not fun to “hit the wall” during  a long hike. Muscles need glucose (sugar) to form glycogen (the storage form of glucose) which serves as fuel during your hike. When you run out of glycogen, you “hit the wall”, which can lead to extreme fatigue (the same thing can happen during long distance running or cycling!)  Nobody wants to feel like that on a hike, so fueling appropriately before, during and after your hike is very important. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy for your muscles, while proteins provide the body with essential amino acids to help build and repair muscles. Making sure you pack enough quality foods for your hike is essential!

Breakfast

Before a long a hike, a mix of protein and carbs is best. Usually I have an egg and cheese sandwich on a roll. When I was hiking the 46, I was getting up before sunrise and didn’t have time to prepare breakfast. If I was really ambitious I would microwave an egg to have on a bagel to eat on the way up, but I rarely had time for that. Stopping on the way for a grab-and-go egg and cheese was usually my best bet. I knew I’d be expending a lot of calories and I wanted to eat something that would stick, keeping me full for a the first few hours of hiking.

Snacks/Lunch

If I was feeling a little bit hungry on the drive up, I’d snack on an apple or a mini cliff bar before starting the hike. Both of these provide carbohydrate. For lunch I would usually bring a bagel with cream cheese or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread. For other snacks high protein snacks, I’d bring hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, nuts, even some cheese to enjoy on the summit. Eating a snack high in protein helps repair your muscles after an intense climb. Sometime’s I’d even bring a Gu or another type of energy gel for quick and easy energy. They provide fast and easily digestible carbohydrate that can be eaten while hiking. Honey packets or applesauce/pureed fruit packets are also great options for quick, easily-transportable energy. In the winter, I always make sure to bring a thermos of vegetable lentil soup, which provides salt, protein, and some carbohydrate, plus–there’s something special about having a hot meal on a cold day in the mountains!

Hydration

Bringing enough water during your long hike is key, especially during warm weather. In the summer, during long hikes I bring 4 liters of water (3 L bladder + 1 L bottle) along with a water filter so I can filter water from a stream if it’s needed. When I hiked the Dix Range last summer on a hot day, I drank the entire 4 liters. If you find you are a salty sweater, it wouldn’t hurt to bring some electrolyte tablets, such as Nuun, a bottle of Gatorade, or even salt tablets. On a super hot day, I keep a frozen bottle of Gatorade in my pack next to my hydration bladder. It keeps the bladder cold and eventually thaws, leaving a nice cold beverage. Rehydrating (with something other than a craft beer!) after your hike is also extremely important–so leaving a cooler full of ice cold water and gatorade in your car for post-hike rehydration is a fantastic idea!

Hiking Snack Ideas

What are some of your favorite snack ideas for hiking?

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Hadley Mountain Firetower – 6.3.17

A few of my good friends will most likely be finishing the 46 this year! Brendan and I were planning on hiking Dial and Nippletop today, but because it’s still mud season and the forecast looked grim, yesterday we called it; we decided to stay close to home and hike Hadley Mountain. We’re both sort of hiking the Firetower Challenge and Brendan hasn’t hiked Hadley yet! It was my third time up this mountain.

I think we got our latest start yet–arriving at the trailhead at 4:30pm. We weren’t concerned, as it was about a 3.1 mi hike RT.

We made it to the summit just under an hour! The late start meant we had the summit to ourselves.

It was a nice night for a hike!

Hadley Mountain Firetower
Distance 3.1 mi RT
Time 2 hrs, 21 min
Ascent 1,518′

In other news, I finally completed my 46r “shrine”!  Can you spot the cat silhouette in one of the picture frames? Too funny!

“Conquering the 46ers” print purchased on Etsy.
Adirondack Park Silhouette purchased on Etsy.
Whiteface Mountain benchmarker replica and print purchased from the Mountaineer
Mini ADK chair acquired from a nutrition conference in Lake Placid

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The Crows – 5.28.17 and the 46rs Banquet

Memorial day weekend was jam-packed with Adirondack fun. Last Sunday was the Adirondack 46rs Annual Spring Banquet, so I made plans with Jordan and my parents to stay in Lake Placid so we could attend. Jordan and I planned on mountain biking Sunday, but the trails were a sloppy mess due to recent rains, so we hiked instead. There is still a mud warning for the high peaks areas (DEC advises to stay off of trails above 2500′–but a lot of people disregard these advisories unfortunately) so we hiked Little Crow and Big Crow mountains in the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness. The bonus of hiking these little peaks is that there are hardly any people on the trails because everyone is busy bagging high peaks.  Plus, it’s on the list of recommended alternative hikes during mud season.

The trail to the Crows is located off of Hurricane Mountain Road, off of Route 73 in Keene. There are a couple options when staring this hike. It can be done as a loop, with a road walk at the end back to your car, or an out and back. There is also the option to hike part of the Nun-da-ga-o Ridge. Jordan and I just had time for a short hike since we had to be at the banquet in Lake Placid at around 5pm. We signed in and started hiking the trail to Big Crow. It was such a nice trail!

In about 20 minutes we were at the summit of Big Crow and had magnificent views of the high peaks.

Even though it only took 2o minutes, the trail is steep, complete with rock scrambling.

 

We followed the cairns down the other side of Big Crow, which was a little tricky since it was very steep. It might be sketchy if it was wet or icy! Thankfully it was dry!

Shortly after we were at the col between Little Crow and Big Crow, it was so pretty.

We hiked along the ridge to Little Crow, where we stopped and admired the view and had a snack.

The whole hike took 2 hours and 12 minutes, including stops. It was great!

Little Crow and Big Crow Mountain
Distance 2.17 miles RT
Ascent 917′
Time 2 hrs, 12 minutes

After the hike, we headed into Lake Placid to check into our hotel. My parents were already there and had been paddling on Lake Placid, since our hotel was right on the lake. Lake Placid is not to be confused with Mirror Lake, the lake right on the main street of Lake Placid, the village. Lake Placid is much bigger!

Jordan and I took their canoe out for a little bit–we had some great views of Whiteface!

After our paddle, we got ready and headed back into the Village for the 46rs banquet. There were over 700 new 46r finishers in 2016–myself included! 211 of us were at the banquet to receive our certificates. It was great to be awarded with an actual certificate after finishing the 46–I’m proud to be member of the club!

The next morning, we had breakfast at Generations Lake Placid, a restaurant right on Mirror Lake that my dad had recommended. I never would have thought to try it for breakfast–it was fantastic! The menu had an Adirondack theme to each of their meals.

Sunny Cove – Benedict style, Duck Trap River smoked salmon, artisan sourdough, two poached eggs, roasted tomatoes, fresh arugula, lemon caper hollandaise & seasoned home fries–delicious!

And we had a great view!

Because it was raining pretty hard, we decided to head home–but not without a stop at the Mountaineer. The Mountaineer is one of my favorite stores, for good reason. They have so much awesome hiking gear! It was so crowded on this rainy day–what else can hikers do except drool over hiking gear if we can’t hike? We spent about an hour looking at packs for Jordan. He doesn’t have a hiking or backpacking pack, so he bought an awesome Osprey pack. We’ll have to put it good use this summer!

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My Favorite Mountain Biking Gear

With an outdoor sport comes gear. Unfortunately mountain biking is not a cheap outdoor sport. Not only do bikes cost $$$, the gear does too. Fortunately I’m pretty good at finding deals. I shop online at Sierra Trading Post and Steep & Cheap and usually end up buying last season’s gear at discounted prices. I’m not an expert by any means, but this is what I’m using right now as a novice mountain biker.

Women’s Giro MTB helmet with MIPS.

First and foremost, the most important piece of gear you buy will be the helmet. The main difference between a mtb helmet and a road bike helmet is the coverage. Mtb helmets cover more of your head, especially in the back. MIPS stands for Multi-impact Protection System, a technology that “reduces rotational forces when the helmet gets hit at an angle.” Buying a helmet with this newer technology is a no-brainer (see what I did there?) because it’s one of the most important pieces of gear you will buy.

POC VPD 2.0 Shin Guards

Buying Body Armor can quickly get out of control and before you know it you’ve spent thousands. Since I do have a budget, I wanted to pick one good quality piece. I don’t ride aggressively so Jordan and I decided shin pads would be the way to go. POC makes the VPD 2.0 shin guards that have flexible padding that’s soft until impact, it’s really quite amazing. I ride with flat pedals that have spikes on them to keep shoes connected to the pedal. When those spikes come in contact with your shins it is NOT good. Therefore, shin pads are quite necessary. However, they are sold individually, which I think is pretty stupid. Who only wants to buy only one shin pad? My next purchase will probably be POC’s VPD knee pads.

Speaking of shoes…

Women’s Five Ten Freerider Shoe

When I first started riding, I was wearing regular trail running shoes. But when I upgraded my bike, I got flat pedals with spikes that were tearing up my shoes. Enter mountain biking shoes. Yes, they look like shoes that high school skater kids wore back in the 90s, but they work for mountain biking. And they are comfortable! They have special grippy bottoms that keep your feet glued to the pedal, most of the time… and they are also surprisingly waterproof.

Pearl Izumi Women’s Cycling Gloves

These are traditional fingerless road biking gloves that I wear mountain biking. I’ve tried full-fingered mountain biking gloves but my fingers must be odd lengths because I have yet to find a pair that I like enough that fit well. Anyway, these gloves are pretty cheap and they work well enough.

Osprey Zealot Mountain Biking Pack and 3L Hydration Bladder

Osprey is my go-to for packs. I’ve been hiking with their Sirrus daypack for years and love it. When I found a mtb specific pack on sale on Steep and Cheap for $60 a few years ago I got it and do not regret it. This pack has a sleeve for your body armor, along with a helmet attachment that I believe also works with full-face helmets. It also comes with a built in zippered bag for your mountain bike tools. Mine is blue, not orange, but you get the gist. I love it.

So there you have it! My favorite pieces of gear for mountain biking. Obviously you don’t have to spend a ton of money to be safe while biking, but certain items are worth it. You can always find deals online, too.

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Mountain Biking at Green Mountain Trails

On Saturday, Jordan had a rare day off, so we joined our friends and went mountain biking in Vermont. The Green Mountain Trails are located near Killington in the town of Pittsfield, Vermont. They have 25 miles of singletrack trails labeled by difficulty.

Mountain bike trails are categorized just like ski trails. Thankfully there was a wide range of greens, blues and blacks to ride. I like to stick to greens and blues.

Mountain biking on trails I have never been on in kind of nerve wracking. Thankfully I could ride most of them. We climbed up to the summit to a little stone cabin.

There were also some really great views!

The guys wanted to ride the “Devils Throat” down. Just the name of that trail scares me. Thankfully when you can’t ride the trail you can always hike it. Hiking with a mountain bike is just a little bit harder than regular hiking…

(No, I do not ride in Chacos…)

After I made it down Devil’s Thumb, thankfully there were many blues and greens to ride. The last mile back to the car was a downhill style trail that was so much fun! In the end I think we rode about 10 miles. It was tough!

I think I’m improving every time I ride. This summer a few friends and I are going to Vermont for a women’s mountain biking event where we’ll take clinics to learn proper riding techniques. I’m so excited!

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