Many people are mistaken if they think that hiking through the mountains or woods is just a walk in the park. If you’ve done any type of backpacking, you know it’s not, especially when you’ve had to climb up and down hills along the way. For those of you looking for more of a challenge, there are a couple of other activities you might like to try. But do not underestimate these activities: they are challenging both physically and mentally, so you do need to do a bit of specialized training first to prepare yourself.
One of these activities is known as mountaineering, and do not fool yourself: it is tough. You will need to do additional training to condition yourself to prepare for the physical challenges you will face. But you will also need to hone some of your other skills if you decide to participate. You will need to be able to easily read maps and use compasses to help you navigate through the mountains, sometimes enduring very harsh weather conditions. Your body needs to be in tip-top shape to help you hike through whatever Mother Nature may throw at you. Harsh rain, sleet, snow, and ice will challenge even the most physically (and mentally ), so you need to be prepared to face anything that comes along.
You also need to have really great skills and instincts for this activity. You need to know how to keep yourself safe and what to do if there is an emergency situation. Do you know how to build an emergency shelter? Can you “read” the weather so you know what to expect? Do you know how to handle a rope, in case you need it to climb further along your route? Take a practice climb on a smaller mountain or two before you attempt the larger and harder mountain terrain.
Another skill you should develop before you go mountaineering is, in itself, just as much of a challenge. Rock climbing takes even more skill, strength, and endurance than most would expect. You also need to be able to think quickly and almost instinctively know where to position your hands and feet. Obviously, this is also something that you need to practice before attempting in the great outdoors.
Luckily, rock climbing has become more and more popular. It is one of the newest sports that offers you great mental stimulation in conjunction with incredibly taxing physical exertion. It is one of the best ways to get yourself into superb physical (and mental ) condition. You not only need to know where to place your hands and feet, but you also need to have the physical strength in your arms and your legs to pull yourself up and along the rock face. There are many indoor climbing facilities you can go to and learn from the experts exactly what you need to know to scale the sheer rock walls you will face outdoors.
This is the best way to start learning this sport, as it is done safely and in a controlled setting, so if you make a mistake, you aren’t hurt in the process.