Your ability to participate and enjoy any given hike is dependent on four things...
1) Technical ability - creek crossings, uneven terrain, severe up/down slopes, rock scrambling, etc.
2) Physical ability - endurance, cardio, injuries that limit your capabilities, coordination, etc.
3) Positive attitude - enjoy your surroundings including the person, place and things around you.
4) Preparation - ensure you have more water than you think you need and food in your pocket. The ten essentials + four is highly recommended particularly for long hikes over multiple hours or certainly days. Ten essentials + four >>> http://www.backpackin...
Fortunately nearly all of the above is firmly within your span of control including, to some extent, physical injuries. Example: Knee hurts = wear a brace, coordination suspect = use poles or a walking stick. Being good to your injuries and accommodating your limitations pays handsomely.
Elevation changes, hike ratings and distance Elevation changes
are hills, steps, ramps, terrain, etc with a grade.
Foothill Hikers uses an easy, moderate or strenuous system for rating our hikes. When a hike is approaching the next level of rating we combined the ratings (example: easy-moderate).Easy
= Little or no elevation changes on a hike less than or equal to five miles. If the hike was seven miles with little or no elevation changes I would rate it an easy-moderate.Moderate
= Elevation changes that make your heart rate go up, yet not so strenuous or long as to create great difficulty for someone in reasonably good shape. Any hike of ten-miles or more is always at least a moderate hike irregardless of elevation changes.Strenuous
= Substantial elevation changes often over an extended distance. A hike with both moderate and strenuous hills is often rated moderate-strenuous.Distance
plays a key role when considered against elevation changes and your endurance level.
Easy versus moderate example: A five mile easy hike with a .2-mile strenuous section would be an easy-moderate hike. A five mile easy hike with a .2-mile moderate section would be an easy hike.Of course if your unable to physically endure walking five-miles you might not consider this so easy!
Below is a good example of an easy-moderate hike...
The above hike is short (less than 3-miles) with less than 1/2 of the hike having an uphill climb (+ elevation change) of 500 f.t. over 1.1 miles. The average-grade of the 1.11 mile slope would be 8.6%. This would otherwise be an easy hike if it wasn't for the final .25-mile rising 300 ft. which is a 22% grade.
If the same hike had a .5-mile stretch that rose 500 ft. I would rate it as moderate. If it ended with a .9 mile stretch that rose 1,000 ft. I would rate it strenuous. The hike below is the strenuous example... Training Hill from the gate at HW49 to the top of Training Hill otherwise known as Pointed Rocks in the Confluence area of Auburn.
The last indicator that is used on occasion relates to technical difficulty. A hike with multiple creek crossings and cabling to navigate a hill might warrant an advanced
rating depending on the complexity of the creek crossings and the length and steepness of the hill.
Another way a hike gains an advanced
rating is having narrow trails, significant loose gravel or steep drop-offs near technical challenging areas of the trail. A good example of this was a preview hike we did from Windy Point to Indian Creek or better still the Bear Creek section of the Traverse Creek Fall Hike. Traverse Creek Falls >>> http://www.meetup.com...
See ya on the trails