The main purpose of the write-up is to describe the hike in such a way that people can make informed decisions about participation. It is not an advertisement to attract people with inadequate experience and conditioning to attempt the hike. Comments on all of the following should be included:
- Interesting features
- Need for water, special food (extra water during summer, lunch, etc.) & equipment requirements (boots, heavy pants, orange hat in hunting season, etc.)
- Time (arrive ready to leave at ____) and place
- Location directions with map are provided within the website’s event entry form
- Hike length
- Other difficulty factors: pace, elevation changes & footing
The first five points are relatively easy to describe. The difficulty factors are somewhat subjective, but important to insure hiker safety. The best way to obtain this information is to scout the hike; a second choice would be to get the information from a guidebook and topo map, or numerous online sources. Relying on your memory of a relatively recent hike in the area or the testimony of another hiker would be a less desirable third choice. We suggest the following descriptors:
Pace – This is really a statement of intent as it depends on some things the leader cannot easily know in advance such as the weather and capabilities of the group. The header for each type of hike provides information on the pace, so only comment if the pace is going to be different. In that case, simply state something like “the hike will be at a fast pace to make sure we finish by dark”
Elevation Change – Comment on the hike profile; for example: “flat”, “flat, with one steep climb”, “rolling with numerous short and some long climbs”, “begins with a 3 mile climb (steep in parts), has a long fairly flat middle section and finishes with a long gentle descent”, “hilly with numerous steep climbs and descents”, “only known example of an all-uphill circle hike”. Walking the route with a GPS device offers the perfect way to define the profile and elevation gains.
Footing – This refers to the trail surface, suggested wording: “mostly smooth with some rocky sections”, “generally good footing but numerous small stream crossings”, “tends to be muddy in some sections”, “muddy except during particularly dry periods”, “woods trail, some roots and rocks and overgrown sections”, “rocky ridge trail including a 1/2 mile boulder field”
It is worth taking the time to do this well because it will guard against unprepared people hurting themselves on a hike that is beyond their capabilities and ruining it for everyone else. Ask the hike chair if you need help with the description.
Last update: 07/25/2016: wh