Exploring the Natural World

Posts by Bob Ward

How Far and Long to Hike

When I plan a hike, my first consideration is the other members of the hiking party. It does me no good to dream of pushing 10 miles over difficult terrain when I’m taking along two young kids. Nor does it seem likely that a hiking partner of advanced age (perhaps 20 years older than me…

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Hiking Solo Versus with Others

When you hike, you hike for a reason, to meet a goal. That goal could be to burn off yesterday’s table fat, to get sun on your face and outside air in your lungs, to see an awe-inspiring overlook, to explore the trail for animal tracks, to dodge Redwing Blackbirds, or to simply leave the…

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Where to Hike

The wonderful thing about hiking is you can do it just about anywhere you live. Even in the largest cities, hiking places abound. You may have to be creative, but usually the question of where to hike can easily be solved. Take, for example, a heavily populated urban area. While you may have self-imposed restrictions…

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When to Hike

In general, the best time to hike is now. Always now. And often. But for the purpose of deeper thought on the question, I’ll postulate on time of day, weekday versus weekend, and season. This should provide a decent framework for flow of thought. And, rest assured, “When to Hike” proves worthy of deep thought…

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Why Hike

Over the years, I’ve narrowed down my hiking goals to three: wellness, inspiration, and understanding. If I feel lazy and overfed, for example, my motivation will be to get off my duff, get my body moving, and work the accumulated blubber and sluggishness from my bones and mind. These reasons I lump under a “wellness”…

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Understanding Hiking Boot Sole Delamination

While cleaning and conditioning my leather hiking boots, I discovered the Vibram sole “peeling apart” on one side of the left boot. Because I paid $250 for the pair, no more than half a decade ago, my heart sank with disappointment. I was completely surprised. How could it be possible to purchase quality boots from…

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Shenandoah National Park Hiking Research

The book “Appalachian Trail Guide to Shenandoah National Park” is a must!! Published by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, this guide book proved ideal for both pre-planning and as a companion on the trail. My small copy is the 14th edition (2012), and I carried it in my pack’s top flap for handy reference as…

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Big Bend National Park Hiking Research

I have used E. Dan Klepper’s book 100 Classic Hikes in Texas for exploring Big Bend National Park. There is a section in the book dedicated to the most popular trails in the park. When dad and I went a few years back, we relied on this book to help us decide which trails to…

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How to Condition Your Leather Hiking Boots (with Nikwax)

No piece of hiking gear does heavier duty than boots, so I never skimp on quality. I prefer leather boots for their toughness and because when I take good care of them they last for years. But I’ve learned the hard way on maintenance. In my ignorant youth (as opposed to my ignorant present age),…

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Analysis of Boonie Hat for Hiking

I purchased two of these–one navy, one khaki–in order to test the theory that a lighter colored hat is cooler under the blazing sun. I definitely prefer the color navy, but I’ll wear the khaki if it keeps me cooler. Basic problems to be solved… Avoid dying of heat stroke while hiking, backpacking, or camping…

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