Walk backwards - IMO, walking backwards is the most effective way protect your knees -- though it's often the least practical and most dangerous approach. Walking backwards significantly reduces the strain on the knees during the descent, probably because walking backwards allows the knee to maintain a better ergo-dynamic angle during the descent. Walking backwards also shift effort away from a tired group of muscles. When it's safe to do so, I always descend backwards.
Take small steps - When walking forwards down hill, take short steps or "baby steps" as you descend. Short steps reduce the vertical distance traveled by the leg, which seems to reduce the impact on the knee.
Zig-zag down a hill - Instead of hiking straight down a hill, follow a zig-zag or switch-back pattern as you descend. This practice can decrease the pressure on your knee joints.
How Long to Boil Water So It's Safe to Drink - It's a critical issue when hiking in the wilderness or traveling in some foreign lands. Filters and purifiers can work well, HOWEVER:
The ONLY 100% reliable method for killing waterborne pathogens is boiling.
According to the Wilderness Medical Society...
- water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and
- water temperatures above 185° F (85° C) kill all pathogens within a few minutes.
So by the time water temperature goes from 160° F (70° C) to the boiling point (212° F or 100° C), , even at high altitude.
"" | Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles - Once I decided the pros and cons of trekking poles weighed heavily on the pros, I decided to give trekking poles a try. Black Diamond poles were recommended due to their "Flicklock mechanism" for adjusting pole length. The conventional twist method used by other manufacturers can slip under heavy weight. The Flicklock system of locking pole length works very well and doesn't seem to slip, even going down hill with some force. Some observed that even if you do get a slip, there is a way to tighten the grip of the flicklock mechanism in the field so they don't slip. I haven't tried the other style, but these Black Diamond "Trail" Trekking Poles are wonderful. Such a relief on my knees, particularly going down hill. To get the benefits of the poles does take some technique, but it's not hard and well worth the effort.
Pros - Advantages of Trekking Poles
- Reduce impact on knee joints and leg muscles - Arm and shoulder muscles take some of the load off the leg muscles and joints. 1
- Increase hill climbing power - Legs and arms can contribute to the climb.
- Reduced swelling in hands - Hands-above-heart position and arm motion used with poles prevents blood from pooling in the hands.
- Aid balance - When balance is thrown off due to terrain or middle ear problems.
- Regular breathing and increased stamina - Because using poles creates a consistent, steady walking rhythm.
- Useful for testing areas for snakes, stability, etc.
GoLite Jam 2 Ultra-Lite Backpack - Fantastic! Never go back to the bulky, heavy packs. This pack rocks, though you have to be into the ultra-lite approach to make it work as a true hiking pack. But I also use it for day hikes--at 22 oz., it's lighter than my other dayhike packs.
I caught the ultra-lite bug while reading Ray Jardine's Beyond Backpacking, which is infused with the ultra-lite philosophy Jardine preaches. Indeed, hiking the "Ray Way" has become something of a religion among ultra-lite purists. I just think the guy makes sense. Why lug 50 pounds of redundant gear on a hike and make yourself miserable? When done right, traveling lighter is safer and more enjoyable. Amen.
Miles of trail: 10.9
Hours: Dawn to half hour after sunset
Limitations: No dogs
Driving directions: Take I-280 to Page Mill Road exit. Go west on Page Mill for 8.6 miles to Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35). Go south one mile; park entrance is on the west side of Skyline.
- Mission Peak Regional Preserve - East Bay Regional Park
- Nice area with lots of steep, foothill trails. Very popular, but if you avoid the main trail, you can find some peace, even on weekends.
Peak Trail - to the peak is gentler, less steep hike (save the first and last hundred yards) than the . However, the Stanford Road route offers great views of the bay throughout the climb, so even if you don't reach the peak, you'll still get some great views. The Ohlone College route goes east of the peak, which hides the views of the bay until near the end.
Peak Meadow Trial - Nice way to make a loop with the Peak Trail. Less crowded but a little longer than the Peak Trail route.
Mission Peak Trail Map (PDF)
I LOVE THESE BOOTS! - Lightweight, comfortable, durable. These Merrell Moab Ventilator lightweight hiking boots are great! I'm using them to hike around a local steep trail with lots of gravel and rocks. I feel very stable and, since they are so lightweight, my legs and feet don't feel so tired as compared to other, heavier boots. I'm very happy with my purchase, and would recommend them to friends and family.
I've tried waterproof (Gortex) boots. But the problem with waterproof boots is that they are hot to wear, and if they do get wet (from water entering over the boot's cuff), then it takes forever for them to dry out (a guy did a test, and the boots took 4 days to dry). In moderate conditions, these Merrell Ventilator boots should dry out overnight (again, a guy did a test).
My cousin Marc Roach was a kind, gentle, and adventurous man--the kind of person who, after you met him, you'd say, "Damn, I want to get to know that guy better!" Sadly, none of us will have that opportunity. Below is the obituary written by his father LeRoy--with kibitzing/editing from his brother Mike.
This place is GORGEOUS. And only a few hours away. Been itching to visit the place for years, but the recent Bay Area Backroads program gave me the itch I had to scratch. Parking gets crowed in the summer (which sucks!), but it's worth a little extra hike to see and explore the park. But it is popular, so best to explore on a weekday or off season.