Not All Who Wander Are Lost: A Blog for Adventurous Women

Do I really need to buy rain pants for my rafting or hiking trip

Posted by Marian Marbury on Aug 5, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Rain pants are an essential piece of outdoor gear, especially but not only for hiking trips. But do you always need them? The following two emails and responses might prove useful. As always, the answer is - it depends!

"Hi --I'm so excited that we have less than a month until our trip to Switzerland begins! I've been gathering the items on the packing list. The one item that I am having difficulty justifying the expense is waterproof pants. Do we really need them? Of course, my phone tells me that it's currently raining in Zermatt!"

Answer:
Sorry but yes, unless you plan to not hike if there is more than a 10% chance of rain (which is always an option!) rain pants do need to be available.  Most of our hiking is above tree line which means that if we hike in the rain or get caught in the rain we aren't protected by trees overhead at all.  When you're under trees you can quite often get away without rain pants and just use your rain jacket but not when you're exposed above tree line.  Plus, the jacket, coupled with the rain pants,  provide the warmth needed when the temperatures drop during a rain storm.

I do have a couple of solutions for the expense part though!  

  • My current (and favorite) rain pants are a pair I bought at Gander Mountain for 39.99.  They are lightweight and keep me dry and warm.  They have an elastic waist and wide leg/foot openings so they go on over my boots.  (Also, I bought them a bit larger than needed so they'll easily go over my boots)  They are the Guide Series and are available at stores or online.  This year they put a mesh liner in them (which I don't like -- adds nothing but weight) so you can just cut that part out and you'll have a great pair of rain pants for all occasions!
  • The second suggestion is to purchase a pair of Frogg Toggs or Ducks rain pants.  These are lightweight pants that are also elastic waist and slip over the boot style.  You can find these at places like Super Targets, Walmarts, Gander Mountain and Dicks.  They are made out of a fabric that feels a bit like paper but are strong, waterproof, lightweight and inexpensive.  The last pair I checked on were at a store here in Michigan, Meijers.  They were a cream color and were the lightweight version at 19.99.  Actually, one of our guides who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail used the Frogg Togg jacket and pants for the trail and is still using her Frogg Togg jacket so they are quite durable (and work well!)  If you go with the Frogg Toggs or Ducks --- wash/dry them several times before you use them to soften them up a bit.

Here are a couple of websites so you can see what each of these suggestions look like:

 

"Hello ladies -Could you please tell me how critical rain pants are for the Salmon River Rafting trip trip?  I really don't want to have to purchase if the chances are we won't be wearing them."

Answer: 
"Whether or not you will need the rain pants is always the big question, and ultimately the decision is yours. They would not be on the packing list if we didn’t think there was a chance you needed them, but it’s also true that this is a hot and dry summer. So let’s say this - on some trips (e.g. hiking in the Alps), if you didn’t show up with rain pants, we would take you shopping the first afternoon. We won’t do that on this trip. I would, however, bring a couple of extra garbage bags and you could make pantaloons if it rained."

Want more tips?

Hiking Tips for Women
 

Topics: clothing and gear, hiking trips

Climbing Kilimanjaro: 5 decisions to make

Posted by Marian Marbury on Jan 17, 2014 6:10:00 PM

KILI1 copy

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro is a dream for many women. It's non-technical, meaning you don't need mountaineering skills or even to be an athlete. It is also truly a physical and mental challenge. If you are finding yourself thinking about it, here are some of the decisions you need to make.

1. Are you healthy enough to climb Kilimanjaro?

It is our heartfelt belief that anyone who is healthy can get in the condition required to successfully complete the climb. It requires determination and commitment to training, and acquiring hiking experience if you don't already have it. But what do I mean by healthy? There are several common conditions that should make you think twice:

  • Bad knees The descent is challenging for everyone, even those with healthy knees. If you have significant knee pain, it is unlikely you could train sufficiently. Even if you could, your knees will be incredibly painful when you descend. That being said, many people with some knee pain find that a regular program of strengthening the muscles around their knees (e.g. lunges and squats) will significantly decrease their knee pain. This was true for me.
  • Chronic lung disease Air has progressively less oxygen as you get higher on Kili. If you have lung damage that impairs oxygen exchange, trying to get enough oxygen into your bloodstream can leave you literally gasping for breath, even when you are hiking quite slowly. If you have never been diagnosed with lung disease but have a history of heavy smoking, having a pulmonary evaluation would be a good idea.
  • Heart disease This is not automatically a disqualifier because there are several kinds of heart disease. If you have had stents for Coronary Artery Disease and can exercise vigorously at high heart rate, you may be fine - check with your doctor. But if you have angina, even if it is controlled with medication, then climbing Kilimanjaro is probably not a realistic goal. The combination of the physical stress of climbing with the thin air means that your heart has to work extra hard to keep up with the demands.

2. What company should you go with?

Tanzanian law requires you to have a Tanzanian guide and at least one porter to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. You can either go through a local Tanzanian company or an overseas company (like us) who works with a local Tanzanian company.

Booking directly with a local operator will cost less. If you want to climb Kilimanjaro alone or have your own group to do it with, and feel confident in your travel planning skills and your ability to pick out a good local operator, this can be a great way to go. If you prefer having all the details arranged for you, having access to people who can give you advice as you prepare, having a Western leader who works with the local leader to make the trip go smoothly and provides extra medical backup, and you like the idea of being part of a group of people with the same goals, then it may be worth the extra cost of going with an overseas company.

Regardless of which direction you take, you should think twice about focussing only on the price. Trips are cheap because porters are inadequately paid and inadequately clothed. We highly recommend that you start with looking at the Kilimanjaro Porter's Assistance Project to familiarize yourself with the issues. Unfortunately they have had to suspend their Climbing Partners program because they are now denied access to the Mountain (due to the government bowing to pressure from local operators who did not meet their standards). However, you can educate yourself about the questions you should be asking any company you want to go with.

3. When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro is close to the equator, so you can climb it year round.  January, February, and September are considered to be the best months in terms of weather (warmest with the lowest precipitation). The tradeoff is that they also tend to be the busiest and therefore more expensive. The longer rainy season goes from the end of March to early June; you will likely deal with more clouds and lower visibility, plus wetter and muddier trail conditions - but there will be fewer people on the mountain. The summer months (June, July, and August) are drier but colder. There is a shorter rainy season that lasts from November through the beginning of December, where skies are clear in mornings and evenings and afternoon rains are common. So it's all tradeoffs and what is most important to you.

We always plan our trip in February because it offers better weather and coincides with the time that many animals are giving birth - which is an amazing sight during the safari. The specific timing depends on the full moon - we always plan for the final ascent to take place on the night of the full moon because when the weather is clear, the moon is so bright that headlamps are unnecessary - truly a magical experience.

4. What is the best route for climbing Kilimanjaro?

You can read about the 6 different routes on Kilimanjaro on Wikipedia. Again, there are tradeoffs. We have chosen the Machame route for the last several trips because 1) it is very scenic, going through five different eco-zones; 2) it allows adequate time for acclimatization (we break up the route from Barranco to Barafu with an overnight at Karanga to allow one more day for acclimatization); and 3) the drive to Machame Gate is only a couple of hours. The main drawback is that it is a popular route so there are more people on it.

One option some choose is to sleep in the crater at the top (called Crater Camp), which means that they only have 800 feet to climb to the summit at sunrise. We don't offer it because it is colder than most people have ever experienced (it's not only the air temperature but the fact that you feel cold more when you are oxygen-deprived) and sleeping at 18,000 feet significantly increases your risk of altitude sickness. However, one of the advantages is that your summit day is shorter - 800 feet up, then 8,000 down. I know several people who have done it that say it was an amazing experience. Our summit day is 4,000 feet up and 8,000 feet down and it is a very, very long day. However, climbing the 4000 feet up in the dark by the full moon will remain one of my most treasured memories - I wouldn't trade it. But you might!!

5. Can you guarantee success on Kilimanjaro?

Absolutely yes!

But not if your measure of success means getting to the top. While we all talk about "it's the journey, not the destination", that attitude often seems to fall by the wayside when climbing Kilimanjaro and only reaching the top is deemed success.

No, we can't guarantee you will reach the top. That will depend on your conditioning and your luck. Your conditioning is about the only thing you can control - but fortunately, it is under your control. But luck? Not so much. When I say luck, I mean

  • weather - one year there was an unsual amount of snow and no one made the summit, on our trip or any other trip going on at the same time
  • acclimatization - whether or not you are affected by altitude is largely a matter of genetics (although Diamox can help). Some people will have been fine at altitude their whole life and suddenly become sensitive to it.
  • your health during the trip - if you get a cold, bronchitis, or diarrhea, you may feel too weak for the final summit attempt.
On the other hand, if your definition of success is to get as prepared as you can, give it your best shot, and then be open to whatever experience you have (and it will be amazing!!), then absolutely, we can guarantee your trip will be successful.
Hiking Tips for Women

Topics: adventure travel, international destinations, hiking trips

Trekking poles for hiking trips: the 4 most common questions

Posted by Marian Marbury on Nov 21, 2013 6:22:00 AM

We always have hiking poles on the packing list of any hiking trip we offer. Here are the most common questions we get.

Why do you recommend trekking poles so highly?

Trekking poles contribute to your safety by improving your balance and stability, and to your health by saving stress on your knees. In addition they help conserve your energy by transferring some of the work to your arms and chest. As a result, and as an additional bonus, you also get an upper body workout with great triceps training.

What should I look for when I buy poles?

The short answer is to make sure their height can be adjusted, they have an upright (as opposed to cane-like) handle, and have wrist straps that can be adjusted. If you're just starting out, our advice is either to purchase an inexpensive pair (EBay,or some of the big box stores can be a good source) or borrow a pair of poles from a friend. Then go on a hiking trip where you can not only learn what they are all about but the correct way to use them.  You’ll also see what others have chosen. Once you’ve gained a bit of experience and you know that hiking is going to be a regular part of your life, you can make a more informed decision about whether you want to invest in the ‘perfect’ pair of poles. For more details, read this blog post: http://blog.adventuresingoodcompany.com/blog-women-travel/bid/153280/Choosing-Trekking-Poles-for-your-Next-Hiking-Trip

Will TSA allow me to carry poles onto an airplane in my carry on?

If you ask TSA, you will most likely be told that carrying on your poles is not legal. However, our experience is that when traveling in the United States, it is very uncommon to be stopped. What we recommend is to pull your poles completely apart and put them in your carry-on luggage; if your luggage is designed to fit the requirements of carry-on baggage, the poles will just fit. Leave enough time at the airport to check your bag if TSA stops you. The advantages of carrying them on are that your hiking poles will definitely get there and it won't cost anything. The downside is that you could get stopped and have to go check your bag.

What are my options if I don’t want to risk a TSA run in?

The easiest is to put them into a checked suitcase. If you pull them apart, they take up very little room. Other options are to package them in rolled cardboard and check them as a second piece of luggage or to mail them ahead to your destination. Both of those can be expensive so another option, depending on where you are going and how long you will be there before you need them, is to buy them once you’re there.

Hiking Tips for Women

Topics: clothing and gear, safety, hiking trips

Choosing Trekking Poles for your Next Hiking Trip

Posted by Jan Latham on Oct 9, 2013 4:43:00 PM

We are all huge fans of using trekking poles on almost any hiking, trekking or backpacking trip. They so clearly contribute to your safety (by improving your balance and stability) and health (by saving stress on your knees), plus conserve your energy by transferring some of the work to your arms and chest, that we can't imagine why anyone would choose not to use them. Yes, they may take a little getting used to and instruction is helpful when you're first starting, but that should not deter you.

But there are so many options, how do you choose the right pair?

If you're just starting out, our advice is either to purchase an inexpensive pair or borrow a pair of poles from a good friend - and then come on one of our hiking trips where you can not only learn what they are all about but the correct way to use them.  You’ll also see what others have chosen and after gaining a bit of experience, you can make a more informed decision regarding the ‘perfect’ pair of poles.

If you're ready to commit to a pair, below are a few details to pay attention to.  I have listed them in the order of what my experience has led me to believe are the most important.  I dare say that you can find these same details on most any internet site you search regarding hiking poles although they could be listed in a different order. (But mine is the correct one!) 

1.  Weight

2.  Pole adjustment mechanism

3.  Sections

4.  Material

5. Grips

6. Baskets

7. Shock Absorbers

 

 1.    Weight: 

Being the lightweight backpacker I am, this has to be at the top of my list.  The lighter the better!  Remember, you will be picking these poles up and down hundreds (or thousands) of times during your hike/backpack and weight will be an issue. 

There are several factors that influence the weight of your poles including the following: 

  • material they are made of  
  • the locking mechanisms
  • whether they have ‘shocks’ on them
  • if they have baskets
  • what the handles are made of

Each of these details will be discussed below.

 2.     Pole adjustment mechanism:

There several types of locking mechanisms for pole adjustment. My favorite for many years has been the ‘twist’ type of mechanism because it was less ‘weighty’ and was quite reliable.  Unfortunately most of the companies have turned to newer technology – currently I use what is called the lever locking mechanism.  The types of adjustment mechanisms are:

  • Lever Locking system
  • DuoLock,
  • Super Lock System
  • Stop Lock. 

All of these locking systems weigh in about the same so just make sure you understand your particular locking system and can operate it well under the conditions you will be using the poles.

 

3.   Sections:

You can get poles that separate into either 2 or 3 sections.  My preference is for a 3 section pole for hiking and backpacking which allows the poles to be more compact in it’s collapsed (or broken down) position and fits into my luggage easily for travel.  The 3- section pole is what almost all hiking/trekking/backpacking poles are.  A 2- section pole is a stronger pole and I would suggest this  if you were using your poles for mountaineering or ski-ing where there may be more stress exerted on the poles.

 

4.  Material:

The most common types of material for hiking poles is aluminum or carbon fiber.  The lighter weight material will be carbon fiber but that will be reflected in the cost of the poles as well. 

 

5.  Grips:

This is definitely a personal issue, keeping weight in mind as the top priority.  Options are:

  • Rubber, which is good in situations where you don’t want your handles to absorb water such as mountaineering or winter sports --- it also insulates the hands from cold.  Rubber is not generally recommended for warm weather hiking simply because rubber can be more abrasive to bare skin (when used for cold weather activities you are usually wearing gloves) 
  • Cork, which ends up ‘molding’ to the shape of your hand/grip.  Cork tends to not absorb moisture which can result in slippery handles if you have particularly sweaty hands.  
  • Foam, which is softer and many hikers/backpackers feel keep your hands cooler.  Foam does absorb moisture but does not become ‘sodden’ or misshapen with just hand moisture. 

 

6.  Height:

  • Make sure that the poles you purchase are for your height --- yes, some of them come in regular and tall, plus some have weight recommendations.
  • If purchasing one of the newer (and extremely lightweight) Z-type poles please make sure you understand their limits.  Many of these poles DO NOT extend for downhill hiking.  My personal opinion is that my knees really do want the extra support for those downhills so I would not choose this type of pole. 
  • If the brand you are considering has a ‘woman’s pole’ do check this out.  These poles are often shorter (decreases the weight) and have smaller hand grips (comfort) 

 

7.  Wrist straps:  Using your poles correctly is very important and having wrist straps that are adjustable are fundamental in learning to and using your poles correctly.  

  • Make sure that the wrist straps are adjustable and that you understand how to make those adjustments

 

8.  Baskets:

My suggestion for hiking/trekking/backpacking is no baskets unless you are planning on doing your trip in the snow.  If your poles come with baskets they can be easily removed and saved for a trip you may need them for. 

9.  Shock Absorbers:

This particular detail can be a bit more controversial.  They do definitely add to the weight of the poles and the vast majority of hikers/backpackers feel that the shocks do not make a difference in comfort.  In fact, poles with shock absorber can actually create a feeling of instability due to the movement of the poles and especially create that feeling in situations where you need to have good balance (rock hopping, narrow ledges, crossing streams, etc.)  My personal opinion is that they are un-necessary weight and that the small amount of give in the poles is not sufficient to make a difference in comfort.  So --- I do ‘nix’ shock absorbers. 

10.  Use:  What will you be using your poles for?  Will they be multi-use poles for both hiking and snowshoeing for instance or are they just for hiking/trekking/backpacking.  Personally I have different poles for different uses but often you can get away with using the same poles for multi activities. 

 My personal preference for poles currently is the Komperdell C3 Carbon Powerlock.  These poles fit my basic criteria, lightweight, reliable locking mechanism, good grip and collapses/separates into a size that fits into my luggage. 

Topics: lightweight backpacking, clothing and gear, hiking trips

Do you really have to have all that stuff on a hiking trip?

Posted by Marian Marbury on Jul 30, 2013 5:45:00 PM

One of our guides just returned from the Canadian Rockies Hiking holiday, a hiking trip in the Canadian Rockies, and wrote  "A participant suggested a topic for a blog...basically, it was 'why we are carrying all this stuff and wearing hiking boots when others are wearing flip flops and not carrying a damn thing' ".

It's a great observation!! I immediately started thinking of the time I climbed Mt Katahdin in my early 30s in a cotton tshirt and shorts on a gorgeous hot summer day. We had food and snacks in a pack but that was about it. We got up to the plateau where it started drizzling. Undeterred we walked across to the summit and sat to eat our lunch, while the drizzle continued and the temperature plunged 20 degrees. Deciding we needed to get going, we headed for the path we intended to take down. Unfortunately it was the kind of path that required being able to hold on to rocks. Our hands were so cold that we literally could not use them, so that path was not possible. When I turned to discuss our options, it became clear that my hiking buddy was past the point of coherent conversation and in the first stage of hypothermia, where apathy is the most common symptom. Finding a boulder where we could get out of the wind, we stood and held each other until our body warmth followed by some snacking got her mobile and thinking again. We returned the way we had come, reached the bottom safely, and knew we had been lucky to get away with being so ill prepared.

"Be Prepared" is not just the Boy Scout motto, it's the motto of everyone who spends significant time in the outdoors. What you should have with you will vary with the location and the time of year, so our packing lists are not all the same. But let's look at some of the common items and why we carry them.

    • Hiking poles.There isn't a hiking trip we offer where these aren't on the list. The only difference is whether we put them in the Essential or the Recommended category. Most of our guides use them routinely on any hike for purposes of knee and energy conservation, and getting a great upper body workout. But when you're going steeply downhill or when you're tired, they add a large margin of safety.

    • Synthetic clothing. When we climbed Katahdin, our cotton clothing got soaked and at that point was actively leaching heat from our bodies. Wearing a synthetic tshirt and having a fleece to pull out of our packs, even if we didn't have rain gear, would have made all the difference.

    • Rain gear. But we were really dumb not to carry rain gear just because it was a gorgeous morning when we started out. Weather can change quickly and in unforeseen ways, especially in the mountains. Whether you carry a rain jacket and pants or just a jacket depends on where you're hiking, but a jacket at least should automatically go in your pack. One of our guides leading a hiking trip in the Swiss Alps ran into a hail storm on the day they did the 10 mile traverse from Schynige Platte to First. What could have been a dangerous situation remained an inconvenience because they all carried full rain gear and fleece.

  • Hiking Boots. Hiking boots aren't always essential. If the path is flat and smooth, then wearing flip flops might be all you need. But what flip flops and athletic shoes don't offer you is arch or ankle support, or protection from rocks - all requirements for most trails. A pair of hiking boots that fit your feet well should be comfortable. Yes, I have seen a woman descending a Grand Canyon trail in heels. I can't imagine what her feet felt like on the way out (assuming she didn't break her ankle on the way down).

Probably 49 times out of 50, you will carry more than you end up needing. But that 50th time, when bad weather comes out of nowhere, the trail is unexpectedly eroded or rocky, or what you thought was going to be a 6 hour hike ends up taking 9 hours, you will be delighted to have what you need to stay safe and warm.

Hiking Tips for Women

Topics: clothing and gear, safety, preparation, hiking trips

Should novice hikers go on beginner hiking trips?

Posted by Marian Marbury on Dec 5, 2012 8:53:00 AM

The first time I started to realize what a difference hiking experience made was about 20 years ago. I was in my early 40s and guiding a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon. We were a small group of 5, including another woman my age and three women who were in their late 20s, one of whom ran marathons. And of course I wondered if I would be able to keep up.

The first afternoon we left our packs at the campsite and 4 of us hiked to a spring for water, about a mile downhill on a very primitive and rough trail. We picked our way down, filtered water, and headed back up with me in the lead. I kept a steady but not a fast pace back up. At the top, the marathon runner said "Well that was humbling!" It took me a minute to realize that she meant she had struggled to keep up with me - not because I was more fit (which I wasn't) but because I had more experience hiking that kind of trail.

When I first started guiding hiking trips for women, I thought that a woman's level of previousbeginning hiker hiking experience didn't really matter in choosing the best trip. I thought it was more an issue of her fitness level and of her deciding what kind of trip she enjoyed. And certainly that is still true - if what you enjoy are leisurely hikes with time for taking pictures and identifying wildflowers, then signing up for a trip where the average mileage is 10 to 12 miles a day will not be ebjoyable no matter how many hiking trips you've taken.

But I have also come to realize that regardless of how fit you are, starting your hiking experience with a hike described as "for novice hikers" is the best idea. Why is that?

There are some things you want to have totally wired before you set off on a challenging trail. You want to know how to dress and when to take your layers on and off, so that you don't get too sweaty or too chilled. You want to know how to pace yourself so that you can hike without ever stopping to catch your breath. You want the use of trekking poles to be second nature, so you don't put any effort into thinking about where to place them. You want to know when to snack and when to drink so you don't become dehydrated or hit a low blood sugar wall. All of these are things that become instinctive with experience, but take energy to think about and keep track of when you're new. Think about when you first started driving a car - it's exactly like that.

But there is another equally important reason, which is best described as footwork. By that, I mean knowing where to place your feet without thinking about it. You can tell if someone has much experience by watching them hike on uneven or rough (i.e. lots of rocks and roots) terrain. An inexperienced hiker is watching her feet, uncertain about whether a rock will be stable or how placing her foot at a certain angle will affect her balance. Especially going downhill, this takes alot of focussed concentration. An experienced hiker will constantly be glancing at the ground but then also looking up at the trail to see what is coming up and looking around at the scenery. The difference between me and the marathon runner that day was the 25 years I'd been hiking.

But that's the great thing! As long as you have your health, you are never too old to start hiking. With experience, your body and mind will learn how to move comfortably over a variety of terrains and you will have more energy at the end of a hike because you haven't had to focus so much on where to put your feet or how to stay comfortable on the trail. At that point, if you want to try hikes that are challenging in terms of length and terrain (and for many women this is not something they ever aspire too), you can consider yourself ready.

If you're interested in reading more hiking tips, download our new tipsheet.

Hiking Tips for Women

Topics: hiking, preparation, hiking trips

Hawaii: Adventure Travel Style (psst… it’s not all about beaches)

Posted by Katie Flanagan on Oct 26, 2012 5:00:00 AM

Images and advertisements for Hawaiian Vacations often depict coconut milk sipping tourists lounging on beach chairs, with leis around their necks, and grass skirts hula dancing by. Those images are certainly not false and are quite enticing… but did you know that Hawaii is a lot more than luaus and lying ocean-side. How about experiencing rainforests, volcanoes, sea turtles, and black sand beaches adventure travel style? If that doesn’t get your travel bug buzzing how about a lava lake that is at a record high. For a glimpse of this natural wonder in action, click on the image below to see a video Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The volcano is erupting at two craters right now and is visible from the national park’s observation deck. The lava is 100 feet from spilling over and doesn’t show signs of calming. If lava begins to flow it will be a rare occurrence in modern history and s once in a lifetime experience for most.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is among the scenic spots we visit during our Exploring Hawaii’s Big Island trip February 3-10, 2013. The active travel on the island includes hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, snorkeling, and of course… relaxing.  For more information about the trip follow this link. There are a few spaces still open, so if you see volcanoes in your future, you can register for this trip here. If you have any questions, please call us at 877/439-4042 or contact us by email.

 

Topics: National Park trips, hiking trips, domestic destinations

Traveling with hiking poles on hiking vacations

Posted by Marian Marbury on Jun 5, 2012 10:51:00 AM

One of the pieces of equipment that we recommend on all our hiking vacations is hiking (also called trekking) poles. If you can't remember why we recommend them so highly (no, we don't own a Leki franchise) then read this blog on the 10 uses of hiking poles. So assuming we have sold you on why they are so critical, the next question is how to get them to your destination. Basically you have four choices:

  1. Send them ahead to your destination, either by US post or UPS. The chances they'll get there are quite high. The only downsides are that it takes more advance planning and costs money.

  2. Put them in your checked baggage. If they don't fit into your suitcase when they are collapsed, pull them completely apart. Also make sure to cover the tips with duct tape or something to keep the points from ripping your clothes or suitcases to shreds. The likelihood they will get there is quite high and it takes no advance planning. If you would otherwise not be checking your bags, then the additional cost is the baggage fee you'll have to pay unless you're traveling on Southwest.

  3. Pull your poles completely apart and put them in your carry on luggage (if your luggage is designed to fit the requirements of carry on baggage, they will just fit). The main drawback to this is that TSA may not let them through. One of our guides recently made inquiries at three diffferent airports. She talked to the head TSA honcho at each one and they all told her that hiking poles do not fall within TSA guidelines of allowed carry-ons, since they are over 7 inches and have a sharp point. Personally I have carried them on this way over a dozen times and I have never been stopped (except in Europe). But it could happen - and if carrying them on is going to make you feel nervous and guilty, don't bother trying it. If it doesn't, then leave yourself enough time to go back and check them through if you're stopped. The advantages are that your hiking poles will definitely get there and it won't cost anything. The downside is that you could get stopped and have to go check your bag.

  4. Wrap them in socks, stick them in your daypack, and sashay on through (see the picture). This should not work! I was absolutely shocked when someone on a hiking trip did this exact thing. I can't say I recommend it but everyone has their own tolerance for risk!carrying hiking poles for hiking vacations

So here are four ways to transport your poles on your hiking vacations. There are only two serious mistakes you can make: 1) not bringing trekking poles; and even more serious - 2) not going on hiking vacations!

Hiking Tips for Women

Topics: clothing and gear, travel tips, trip preparation, hiking trips

Hiking Amalfi Coast: Five things you might not know

Posted by Marian Marbury on May 8, 2012 10:58:00 AM

Or maybe you have experience hiking Amalfi Coast so you do know these things, but I sure didn't the first time I did our "Amazing Amalfi" trip. Let me specify that I am defining "Amalfi Coast" broadly so it includes the whole coastline down to Paestum and also the Isle of Capri.

  1. Despite the fact that Amalfi is one of the more densely populated part of Italy and has been a tourist magnet for centuries, it is not difficult to get away from tourists. On two of our hikes, you are unlikely to see any other people. One of them, "Sentiero Dei Degli" or The Gods' Walk, lives up to its name: following a path that traverses the side of high hills, there are nonstop views of the Mediterranean's rugged coast. It was definitely our group's favorite hike.

    Temples at Paestum on Amalfi Coast
  2. There are three well-preserved Greek Temples in Paestum, dating from the time the Greeks founded a colony in the area in the 7th century BC. In fact these are the best preserved Greek temples anywhere except for the Acropolis. Well-preserved ruins from the Roman occupation that followed the Greek one are also on the same site.

  3. Limoncello, a lemon-flavored liqueur, was first created and is still made here. When you walk past terraces of lemon trees on the steps between Amalfi and Ravello, you really understand just how well lemons grow in this area.

  4. The Isle of Capri isn't just for rich people who love shopping. Which is not to say that there isn't plenty of opportunity for shopping and it helps if you're wealthy. But Capri is a beautiful place and the walk out to the ruins of Tiberius' villa or following the path that goes down to the ocean and follows the shoreline are both uncrowded and delightful. There is also the well known Blue Grotto where your boatsman sings as you paddle in the cave- hard to describe, quite touristy, and well worth it.

  5. While we often think of Pompeii as being interesting because of its history of being buried by ash from the eruption of Vesuvius, what makes it really interesting is the degree to which the ash preserved it - and thus what remains is the most well-preserved Roman town in Italy, which has provided scholars tone of insight into how the Romans actually lived.

And one pleasure that is true almost anywhere you go in Italy? Gelato!!! Hmmm, its just as good as you always heard.Enjoying gelato in the town of Capri Amalfi? What's not to love!

Topics: international destinations, hiking trips