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Thread: New to hiking...Need Help!

  1. #1
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    Default New to hiking...Need Help!

    So I've lived in Alaska my whole life and consider myself an avid outdoorsman. I've dwelled in fishing, hunting, winter sports, etc. the thing is that I just got myself a nice new fancy Canon camera and I am having the itch to go hike and explore some stuff. thing is that besides Flattop, Powerline Pass, and a few small hikes on the penninsula I haven't utilized what Alaska has to offer.

    That being said...I WANT IN! I am pretty sure I have most everything for outerwear and baselayer clothing so the main thing i need is a good day pack and some footwear for an entry level guy. I'm 6'2 about 230 lbs so will need something pretty stout I'd imagine. Not looking at spending an insane amount of money but do want something that will hold up for awhile. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, if anyone is willing to bring a newbie along for a hike I'd be game. Although I have spent a fair amount of time outside in AK, I do not have extensive back country experience. that being said I would prefer to not go alone. I work a pretty normal work schedule so I'm free on weekends. I'm willing to pick people up and drive or meet up somewhere and go from there. Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

    Happy Hiking,

    Steve

  2. #2
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    for boots, look into Iron Ridge boots form cabbalas, I pretty much wear these all day every day at work, church, hunting, climbing, anything. they are pretty easy on my size 13 foot, there isn't much of a break in period. they are waterproof for about 6-8 months of every day use. they are somewhat heavy and if you use them a lot in the summer you feet will get really sweaty (I was working 6 days a week with a bunch of over time on one of those really hot times last summer and I could wring my socks out at the end of the day...and I got really bad trench foot) but in the winter you feet don't get very cold..... they do run a little big, so buy a half size smaller then you usually wear. the high tops are nice too, for going across swaps and creeks and such. I don't think you would be disappointed and the 100 dollar price tag is really good. if you just using it for week end hikes and such things these boots will last a few years, mine and dads last about a year (typically buy a new pair right before hunting season and use the other pair for back up or what ever) but like I said, we wear ours 6 or 7 days a week all day. I did have one pair that the sole came off, but that was after 1 1/2 years of use and I have never heard of that happening again.

    http://www.cabelas.com/product/Cabel...h-All+Products
    Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

  3. #3
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    Hey Steve, its a little early in the season yet but I noticed this meetup group in Anchorage does a lot of day hikes in the spring through fall as well as overnighters. You may want to consider joining up.

    http://www.meetup.com/AnchorageAdventurers/

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all the help! I will definitely look in to both the boots and the meetup group.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    There are a few books out there dedicated to trail in south central AK. There are also a few maps available of the Anchorage are and Kenai that mark out the majority of the trails. Next time you go to Fred Meyer for groceries take a stop by the book section, the maps are over by the gun counter. This is how I started hiking, I grabbed a book hit the trail. Don't be afraid to hit the trail alone, the trail itself is a great place to meet fellow hikers. Heck I met my now wife on the trail at the end of a 1,000 foot climb.

    Entry level or expert, don't downplay the importance of a good pair of boots. You can actually get a lot of general trail hiking done in a comfortable pair of sneakers but a pair of boots are great for a little more support, especially for a big buy like you. If you stick with a pair of hiking boots as opposed to a heavier backpacking boot, you'll have a boot you can wear everyday so you won't have to worry about spending a bunch of money on a boot you'll only wear hiking. REI or AMH will have the best selection of hiking boots along with knowledgeable staff to get you the correct fit. Sportman's has hiking boots but you probably won't get the knowledge.

  6. #6
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    I keep returning to AMH...they have a great selection and the staff are really great. I have a pair of ASOLO boots that have worn like iron and I love. Soles are very Important here in Alaska IMHO...I prefer somethingslightly on the soft side for grip. I also have either a 6 point heel/insole crampons or Kahtoola KTS system with me year round when I hike...they are as good on rainy grass as they are on glare ice...so I always look for boots that will support crampons.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  7. #7
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Anchorage area does have some great dayhikes....when we lived there I used to walk up and down Rabbit Creek almost on a daily basis. Winner Creek, Pioneer Peak, Eklutna Lake are some of my favorites. Probably hundreds of possibilities.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

  8. #8
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    First off let's not underestimate the value of the common and accessible Anchorage hillside trails.
    Just since September 2011 I've saw moose up to 65 inches, brown and black bears as close as 30 yards, sheep and mountain goats, and I recently scared a large wolverine up a tree 8 or 10 feet away from me. In addition to being close to those of us who reside in Anchorage, the hillside trails are generally snow-packed and "hike-able" without snowshoes during the winter months. Of course, this year the trails have been worse than recent years as far as being snow packed. Most trails have been very soft throughout this winter. And if you step off just a foot to either side you will sink into the snow up to your whatever.

    During most years with normal amounts of snow the Turnagain Arm trails are "hike-able" by late March. But we'll just have to see when those trails get good for a two or three hour hike this year with all the snow, which is still piling up as I'm writing. But anyhooooo I like the Turnagain Arm trails because you can get in a tough lung and heart pounding uphill hike and then a good quadriceps whippin on the dowhill hike, most years, before any of the other trails become mostly snow-free.

    As for boots, wear the warmest you currently have, and adapt as the trails get slushy in spring and then dry(ish) in the summer. Based on my belief that you have not been "in love" with hiking in the past (or you would have already got serious years ago) I would suggest that you start off with whatever boots you currently have. Keep it simply. And then, like the rest of us who enjoy a nice, cheap sport like hiking, you can go spend $400 on another (and the other and another and on and on) pair of boots.
    One suggestion...Keep a log of the length of your hikes. If you are consistent it gets interesting as you observe your total mileage building throughout the year.

    ....just some thoughts, other experts may disagree...

  9. #9
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    in the summer you might alo try barefoot hiking....I don't much just hike for the sake of hiking but occasionally I do and its good to take off your shoes and run up a trail....till you get your toe stuck under a limb....
    Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

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