Hikes are graded in a flexible standard that only the individual, as they experience each different grade of hike, can assess for themselves, according to their own capabilities and safety levels.
The hikes are graded as follows:-
MODERATE: 0-500 ft elevation gain Length 4-6 miles
STRENUOUS:: 500 - 1800 ft elevation gain Length 6-10 miles
EXTREMELY DIFFICULT::More than 1800 ft. of elevation gain and more than 10 miles in length.
The above are general guidelines. A hike leader may deviate when, for example, a hike has difficult footing or involves climbing boulders.
Basic Gear Checklist
This list is a response to conversations that were held on the trail about what is necessary for the hiker to carry on a hike. There are several sources for this list but they all say about the same thing. I have annotated them to fit local conditions.
- WATER! – The club minimum is two quarts (64 ounces) More for longer, hotter hikes. I have taken four quarts on a hike and almost run out.
- Compass & Map - especially useful when traveling in unfamiliar locales. The catch is that you have to learn how to use them.
- Day pack - lightweight pack to store water, food, and basic necessities.
- Food - something lightweight but nutritious, high in carbohydrates.
- Extra Clothing – At least take one of those disposable ponchos and a Mylar blanket. We don’t get much rain out here but we all hike in the mountains where conditions are much different. I have been on hikes that experienced snow and each time I wished I had at least a sweater, windbreaker, and gloves. It happens. Also in hot weather, a light shirt for protection from the sun.
- Matches - keeps you warm at night. Someday something will happen and someone will have to spend the night out there. Matches weigh almost nothing and turn a dangerous situation into something that is only uncomfortable.
- First Aid Kit - keep it simple, when you need it you’ll be REAL GLAD you brought it.
- Flashlight – Are you absolutely sure you are going to be back before dark? This could be the difference between spending the night beside a trail waiting for enough light to get down and sleeping in a warm bed at home.
- Sunscreen & hat – Unless you want skin cancer and a complexion like an old wallet.
- Whistle – used for signaling. One toot = Where are you? Two toots = Here I am! Three toots = Help! I have used a whistle several times and I was real glad I had it.
- Always tell someone else where you are going. If there is an emergency no one will know whether or not to look for you. On some of these trails we hike, it might be days or even weeks before someone comes along.
Things that you might wish you had brought along as well.
- Imodium - speaks for itself.
- Plastic Shield for CPR – It’s going to happen folks, sooner or later.
- Cell Phone – for calling in emergencies.
- Bright Orange Panel – good for signaling. Get a bright orange rain parka.
- Nylon cord. - for making repairs, rigging shelters, making splints.
- Extra Water.
- Water purifying tablets.
- GPS – only useful if you know how to read a map.
- A hat
- A knife (not one of those big hunting knives)
- Chap Stick
- Tissue Paper
- Some quarters for the phone and money for cab fare. Are you sure you are going to come out where you think you are? This might come in very handy.
- Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Tylenol
- Pencil and paper - for leaving messages on the trail and for sending messages where there is an emergency.