Newbie... New to it all and in need direction

Introduce yourself to the group! We welcome novice and expert alike! We especially love hearing from those new to Portland and those new to hiking
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Early Bronco Dreamer
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Newbie... New to it all and in need direction

Post by Early Bronco Dreamer » December 2nd, 2017, 11:20 pm

Greetings all,
My legal name is BrYan, I have an amazing wife of nearly 20 years and we have a freshman in college and a 10th grader in HS. I/we joined this group in hope of seeking the help of others who have been there done that. Quick intro done. Meat of on my first post, !HELP! My goal is by late spring early summer be versed enough to take my then 16 year old son on a over night hike... We went to Smith Rock in central OR for "Black Friday" #OptOutside we were taken back by its size and beauty. Did a very, very short hike/walk and decided then this was our future. He is a local Fire Cadet, plays both football and baseball for his HS. As for me I am out of shape wireless integrator and HS football coach. I ask of the group to get us pushed in the right directions as in how to prepare? Gear? the do's and don'ts... Help us not make the same mistakes so that we enjoy hiking.


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Re: Newbie... New to it all and in need direction

Post by Peder » December 3rd, 2017, 1:15 am

Hey BrYan!
Hiking is much simpler than driving a car in Portland, so don't overthink it! I would suggest going to your local library and getting Bill Sullivan's 100 Hikes in NW Oregon (assuming you live in Portland, otherwise get the guide for your portion or Oregon). While you are there, you can grab a few more hiking books. [And a reading hint: Eric Hansen's Stranger in the Forest] Go out and do some short simple hikes during the winter. There are hikes close to Portland (how about a loop around the Portland waterfront?). I always love Warrior Point on Sauvie Island (muddy in winter), Kings Mountain in the coast range is popular and fun, finally the coast can be surprisingly warm and pleasant in winter, my favorite is Salishan Spit with guaranteed seal sightings. [If these hikes are too long, just scale it down] Finally, if you want to get out of the rain, head east in the Gorge to Catherine Creek or Coyote Wall (usually in the rain shadow).
Costs of gear is in the eye of the beholder... I hike in my retired work slacks, use the $5 ski poles I purchased 10 years ago when I need trekking poles and purchase $20 hiking shoes or boots at The Big 5. You do not have to be that cheap, but don't purchase stuff before you need it. Camping can also be very simple (sorry about the link - I just arrived in Indonesia 2 hours ago) but the biggest issue is to buy stuff that serves you in the long run (tent, cooking gear, sleeping bag, etc.). I would say a) to delay your purchases as much as possible; and b) stay close to the car on your first camping trips. Bayocean Spit is one cool place to start out camping or High Prairie below Lookout Mountain is an ever easier possibility (car camping).
Lastly, do be overly ambitious! Challenges are fun, but any hike that ends in tears is a failure and a turn-off. So keep the hikes within all participants' abilities and simple at first!
Surgeon General's warning: this is a very addictive activity!
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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retired jerry
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Re: Newbie... New to it all and in need direction

Post by retired jerry » December 3rd, 2017, 7:07 am

some info here

start with short trips, see what works, go from there

try not to buy a lot of expensive equipment. You may find after a few uses it's not what you really want.

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Re: Newbie... New to it all and in need direction

Post by Aimless » December 3rd, 2017, 12:23 pm

how to prepare? Gear? the do's and don'ts...

Reading between the lines of your post, it would seem that you do not have much, if any, experience with either hiking or camping. Because backpacking is a combination of these, you'll need some grounding in both. The good news is that neither activity is particularly complex or technical, but they do require some idea of what you are doing if you want to enjoy yourself rather than just get out of it alive. The other good news is that you can separate the two activities at first and not jump straight into the deep end of the pool. :)

Hiking is something you can get started with right away, since it only requires a minimum of gear. Some tips: it rains here in the winter and spring, so you should wear clothes that aren't all cotton, and have outerwear that will shed rain. Put a change of dry clothes in the car. Start with short hikes, but do attempt some hikes away from the city. For now, any hikes above 2500 feet of elevation could easily mean snowy conditions, so your choices will be limited.

Camping season in Oregon and Washington won't come back around again until May or thereabouts. A bit earlier at the coast. That gives you plenty of time to research and plan. Don't get excited and rush out to buy camping gear right away. It will just sit idle anyway. Especially don't go out and buy backpacks, yet. Those should be one of your last purchases. Plan to do a couple of camping overnights in car campgrounds before you backpack. You can test your gear and get to know it in a low-risk setting. An even lower-risk setting is your back yard. And your gear doesn't have to cost a mint. It only has to do its job when it has to. Most of what you get with the really pricey stuff is the same functionality as cheaper stuff, but for less weight, or else some technical features for extreme conditions you won't be facing.

Read Colin Fletcher's excellent book, The Complete Walker. It was written around 1970 and revised several times until the late 1980s. Every piece of gear he mentions is outdated and has been replaced with newer versions, but the real matter of the book teaches you what problems every backpacker faces and how to think about their solutions. By the end of the book, you will not know what gear to buy, but you'll know how to think like a backpacker, which is x10 more important. The link retired jerry gave you is also an excellent source of contemporary info, but you'll have to dig around for it. The Colin Fletcher book lays out all the basic ideas in one place.

In terms of safety, the most important tip would be, if you feel like you're getting in over your head, turn back. I've been camping and hiking in Oregon since I was 5, and backpacking since I was 16. Now I'm 63. The key to staying out of trouble is both easy and difficult: thinking.

Lastly, your sense that there is a whole amazing world of things to see if you hike and backpack is absolutely correct. Stick with it and you will be rewarded a hundredfold. I hope to still be doing it when I'm 80.

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Re: Newbie... New to it all and in need direction

Post by squidvicious » December 3rd, 2017, 2:06 pm

If you're afraid to jump in too far on your own, remember that REI offers all kinds of classes and events for hiking, backpacking, navigation, first aid, etc. And of course a very generous return policy if you're not happy with the gear you buy.

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Re: Newbie... New to it all and in need direction

Post by pcg » December 3rd, 2017, 3:54 pm

You can save a LOT of money on gear by researching what you want, then buying it used. I buy everything used except boots, socks, and underwear. It’s remarkable what people will sell for pennies on the dollar when they need cash.

Check out the consignment basement at Next Adventure in Portland, the REI Garage sales, Craigslist, eBay, and then specific forums such as the following:

viewforum.php?f=29 ... 1fa2a0bfa8 ... gear-swap/ ... ant-to-buy ... yard-sale/

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Re: Newbie... New to it all and in need direction

Post by Guy » December 4th, 2017, 8:45 pm

Hey BrYan welcome to the site, remember hiking is just walking :) There are very few things you absolutely have to have to go hiking, most things just make it slightly easier or more comfortable.

If it were me I'd hike first in places where you absolutely can not get lost, state parks, city parks etc. go in the rain get wet. Don't spend a lot of money on gear if you need a coat to keep the rain out then get a low cost one don't buy the best off the bat or ever!

When you feel comfortable hiking a few miles in poor weather look for more interesting places to go then think about the possibilities of getting lost and how you can prepare for that. Read up on get the "10 essentials" they are cheap.

Good luck and get started!
hiking log, photos & maps.
Ad monte summa aut mors

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Re: Newbie... New to it all and in need direction

Post by Kuhlmann » December 9th, 2017, 8:57 pm

I just moved to the PNW after a long trip last year that made us fall in love with the are. I will second the REI classes as a good intro. Not only do they open your eyes to a few things to think about, it's a good place to meet people to hike with until you are comfortable in the wilderness by yourself.
State park trails are a great introduction because you are never that far from civilization. I recently went to Cape Disappointment in WA and it had some great diversity, a little bit of elevation (~500 at most), and I was never necessarily solo. Once you are comfortable in the woods, I would say that's when you start pushing yourself for a little bit more. Before you know it you are posting off trail reports like Chip.
Another thing that my group finds fun is taking everyday household items and finding creative ways to make the camping trip or hike better. It is almost always cheaper and sometimes does better than what you can buy that is camping specific.
Most of all, have fun. If it isn't do, something different next time and know that some trips just may not be fun because of different things that could occur on the trail but the next time out is always better.

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