Hiking Clubs Should You Join One A Spectacular Trail Find On The Swan Range Of Montana A Trek To The Summit Making Clothes For Backpacking
Have you ever heard of a hiking club before? While hiking clubs do have different meanings, a hiking club is often used to describe a group of individuals who regularly enjoy hiking, often together in groups. If you are an avid hiker or if you just enjoy going hiking, you may want to think about joining a hiking club.
As it was previously mentioned, hiking clubs are often used to describe groups of individuals who have a love for hiking.The majority of the time, you will find that hiking club members hike together. This is ideal for a number of different reasons. For one, hiking with someone that loves hiking just as much as you do can be fun and exciting. It is also important to mention safety. When you hike with multiple individuals, especially experienced hikers, you are less likely to have an accident or find yourself in a dangerous situation.
In addition to going on traditional hikes with each other, there are many hiking club members who travel to hiking trails or hiking parks that are not considered local. Many times, these types of trips require camping or staying at a hotel. One of the many reasons why these types of long distance hiking trips are done by hiking clubs is because the group members can split the cost of doing so. What does this mean for you? It means that if you would like to take long distance hiking adventures, but you don’t have any friends or family members who would like to go with you, you may want to think about joining a hiking club.
When examining all of the benefits of joining a hiking club, it is important to remember that not all hiking clubs are the same. There are some hiking clubs where members only meet up for hiking adventures, but then there are hiking clubs that do much more. For instance, there are hiking clubs that have monthly or even weekly meetings. These meetings are often used to plan hiking trips, discuss the latest in hiking gear trends, and so forth. There are also hiking clubs that use fundraisers, like car washes or chicken barbeques, to pay for their hiking adventures. In all honesty, you will find that the benefits you are presented with will all depend on the hiking club that you choose to join.
Speaking of choosing a hiking club, when it comes to choosing a hiking club, there are a number of important factors that you should take into consideration. For example, you will find that many hiking clubs charge their members small monthly or yearly fees. You will want to find a hiking club that is easy to afford. You may also want to take your schedule into consideration as well. Do you have time to attend all monthly or even the weekly meetings? If your hiking club has scheduled meetings, you will want to attend them, not just attend the scheduled hiking adventures. This will help you grow comfortable with those that you will hike with and visa versa.
If you would like to join a hiking club, you may want to first try and see if there are any local hiking clubs in your area. Depending on where you live or if there is a hiking trail or a hiking park nearby, there is a good chance that you may have a local hiking club or even a number of them to choose from. You can usually find information on local hiking clubs by using the internet or by asking those that you know for recommendations. If you are still coming up empty handed, you may want to think about asking the staff at a local hiking park if they know of any local hiking clubs.
As you can see, hiking clubs are fun ways to share your love for hiking with others who feel the same way about it as you do. Although there is a good chance that you will be able to find a hiking club to join, you can also always start your own, if you wish to do so.
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This time was different. Previous years I had settled into a tent near the car at the viewpoint below Richmond Peak, a timbered ridge to the north and east of Seeley Lake, Montana. Time and again I had enjoyed the awesome view of the mighty wall of mountain ridge that rose up from the canyon below me, towering over all surroundings – the majestic Montana peak of Sunday Mountain. From the Richmond Peak vantage point the face of the peak, made up of bare slide zones, with a few ridges of trees and brush, appeared to rise almost straight up from the valley floor below. It was not a mountain wall that I would expect to yield a trail, a bit of a cliffhanger path that would lead to the summit.
Awakening that Saturday morning in August though, again at the Richmond Peak viewpoint, after a quick breakfast, I threw my pack on my back. I then hit the trail up the side of Richmond Peak across the canyon from Sunday Mountain. On a previous hike in the area I had found an unmarked trail that departed the mapped trail/abandoned logging road leading up the side of Richmond Peak. The unmarked trail crossed the saddle where the canyon rose to meet the ridge, and appeared to connect with the Sunday Mountain face, and then head upwards – at a sharp incline. I wasn’t certain where the trail would lead, but it sure gave the appearance of providing a possible access route to the top of Sunday Mountain.
With clear blue skies of an incredible Montana August day, the climb ahead would still be a cool one as the sun of the day was to the east behind the Sunday Mountain ridge. No question about it, this was also bear country – Grizzly bear country. The initial distance on this unmarked trail led off through dense, overgrown brush as it led across the saddle. What better place for them to be hanging out than in the dense brush I was working my way through.
Such a huge relief to make it past the dense brush, with no bear tales to write home about. Out into the open I was on the lower flanks of this mountain I had dreamt of tackling for years. As noted, the trail immediately took a sharp turn, upward in a steep climb. Then, veering off to the north across the face, a slightly leveler trek ensued as it angled upward across the face through wonderful fields of bear-grass mixed with a myriad of flowers in a rainbow of colors. It was almost beyond belief – trekking through chest high fields of flowers on the trail to Sunday Mountain.
The trail led across 2 or 3 avalanche draws filled with bear-grass, then doubled back, requiring scrambling up rock ledges, and again leading off across the draws. With another hour of scrambling the steep path, to my surprise I found myself working through a high mountain meadow area apparently home to a band of mountain sheep. My heart beat faster as I realized that this high meadow was tucked in directly below one of the summit cliffs outcroppings. Given the climb to that point, like my heart could beat much faster.
Another 20 minutes of scrambling, and at last, the summit ridge for Sunday Mountain was conquered. The view stretched before me down and back into Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. To get to the Sunday Mountain summit called for another half hour of scrambling, following the ridge up and up until I could go no further, the highest point on the mountain ridge.
What a sense of triumph! In all directions the ground dropped below me, to the east off into the vastness of the Bob Marshall Wilderness with a large expanse of Grizzly Basin directly below. To the west from this birds eye view, the steep drop off I had just come up opened out on an expansive view of the Swan Valley with the Mission Mountain Range lining the western horizon. Below me, drifting lazily on the breezes, an eagle circled looking for it’s afternoon snack. To the east from my perch at the top of my world, 2 or 3 snowbanks in the draws below me persistently held out for upcoming fall and winter reinforcements.
An absolutely spectacular find on the Swan Range. From that wonderful vantage point other primary access jumping off routes for the Bob Marshall Wilderness were visible up and down the Swan Range. To the north Holland Lake marked the trail system from there, and south Pyramid Peak marked the access routes over Pyramid Pass. The area – such a wonder, and now I knew there was another route into the Bob. Truth be known, even though the climb was, well…., a climb, it really didn’t take as long to make it to the Bob Marshall boundary as taking the other two primary routes.
Regardless, it was still a physically challenging journey that would lead to a host of aches and pains in this 50 something Montana explorer. It was certainly great to know that there was a cozy, comfortable base-camp set up in place with a hot shower when the hammering up the face and back was accomplished. Either direction from this incredible corner of Montana there were whole sets of quality motel accommodations with soft beds, hot showers or even a Jacuzzi to soak the tired muscles. Perfect base-camp lodgings were available either locally in the Seeley – Swan Valley, at the northern end in the Kalispell and Columbia Falls area, or at the southern end in the Missoula area The crowning touches to a truly stellar Montana mountain adventure.
Making clothes? If you enjoy backpacking AND sewing, go for it. As for myself, I started buying gear again after the first hundred tedious hours of sewing . Then I discovered that there are some backpacking clothes you can make cheaply and quickly.
Making Hand Warmers
Stick your hands inside a pair of socks and mark where your fingertips and thumb-tip are, using a pen or marker. Then cut holes where the marks are. You now have hand warmers that leave your fingers free. Mine weigh about an ounce, but this depends on the socks that you use. You can use these under other gloves or mittens in colder weather, and when you remove your mittens to tie your shoes, you won’t totally expose your hands.
Instant Insulated Vest
Buy 1/2″ poly batting at any fabric store. I bought mine at Walmart. This is the stuff that is used to make pillows, stuffed animals and quilts. It comes as a big sheet, rolled up in a bag, usually for less than ten dollars.
Open it up it and cut a piece out, roughly two by four feet. Cut a hole in this for your head, and wear it like a tunic, but under your jacket. Making clothes doesn’t get any easier than this, and the vest will be among the lightest backpacking clothes you own. My own weighs just four ounces.
My vest, along with my homemade balaclava, kept me warm as I went over glaciers, to the top of 20,600-foot Chimborazo, in Ecuador. It also went to the top of Mount Shasta in California, and on other trips. Originally, I made it as a disposable vest, but it’s held together for years now. Wear two for extra warmth (always under a wind-breaking layer) and you’ll have more insulation than a sweater would give you, for half the weight.
Making A Ski Mask From Old Clothes
Use any old thermal underwear top or bottom, preferably made of polypropylene. Just cut off a leg or a sleeve, then pull it over your head. Mark where your eyes and mouth are with a pen or marker, cut the holes and cut off the extra length. You just made a balaclava.
I used a sleeve from a very stretchy polypropylene top for mine. It weighs less than an ounce, lighter than anything I can buy. You can sew the top shut, as I did, or just pin it shut with a safety pin. Making backpacking clothes doesn’t get much simpler than this.
I collect ideas for backpacking clothes or equipment that can be made at home, but if it can’t be explained in a paragraph, it’s probably too complex and time consuming for me. I prefer backpacking to sewing. When it’s as easy as the three items here, though, even I will start making clothes..
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