After not hiking for three straight weeks, I ventured out early on a recent morning and did my favorite hike at Shaw Butte in Phoenix. It’s amazing how quickly one can get out of shape.
As I struggled to climb the south side of the hill, I thought of some additional tips I forgot to mention in my earlier posts.
- Uphill, shorten your stride. If you’re getting winded when hiking uphill, take shorter strides. For me, at least, it’s easier than trying to slow my normal stride. On the steepest trails, my stride is often just a couple foot lengths.
- Downhill, point your toes downward. Walking heel-to-toe doesn’t work when hiking down loose gravel. If you don’t point your toes downward, you run the risk of sliding when your heels hit the ground. This could lead to an unpleasant ankle twist.
As I was thinking about these tips, being nearly out of breath myself, a young, exceptionally fit brunette ran uphill past me, wearing no visible socks, carrying no water, her hair pulled through her baseball cap in a ponytail, showing only the slightest hint of perspiration, and leaving behind a sweet scent of perfume.
This leads me to my final, most important tip.
- You are not her. Well, most likely you’re not. You need socks, water, and possibly even some food to hike in our desert parks, and you’re probably going to need to walk, not run.
If you get a chance to come to Phoenix and enjoy our beautiful urban parks, please consider these tips, and have a safe, fun hike.