By: Lukas Saville of 10Adventures
The current pandemic has left most of us confined to our homes, with trails and national parks closed for at least the next few months. Spring is usually the time when hikers and backpackers start preparing themselves for summer adventures, dreaming of new, unexplored trails and building up their stamina and fitness. But how can you prepare for the trail if you’re stuck in the house?
Finding Future Trekking Routes Online
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it’s now possible to plan your trek without even leaving your home! With online maps, virtual travel tools and detailed hiking trail maps, it’s never been easier to plan a hiking trip from your sofa.
Google Maps provides a selection of virtual hiking trips using their street view, using footage gathered by travelers. You can explore trails through the Grand Canyon and up to Everest Base Camp, in addition to plenty of other iconic hikes. This is an excellent way to get an idea of the terrain, trails and spectacular views you can expect from your hike! Google Earth also has a dedicated list of national parks in the United States, which you can explore virtually to plan your next hike or backpacking trip.
You’ll find plenty of trail planning guides online, including detailed hiking route descriptions with photos, insider hints, and advice on how to make the most of your trek. If you’re looking for further inspiration, why not check out some of these virtual hikes? These stunning videos provide a first-person view of the trail, and offer an excellent opportunity to scratch your travel itch from home.
However, if you’re looking for a way to experience real wilderness, you can get right out into the wild by following the live webcams set up by Parks Canada and the National Park Service. This is a wonderful way to preview some of the amazing animals you’ll find on the trail, and will help you choose where to head for your first post-lockdown hike.
Keeping Trail-Fit During Lockdown
It’s essential to maintain a base level of fitness if you’re planning to tackle some challenging trails once lockdown has lifted. With the national parks off-limits, and most of us cooped up at home, you might be worried about how you’re going to maintain your trail fitness. Here are some of our top tips for staying fit during the lockdown.
Get moving. There are many high-energy, high-intensity exercise routines that can be completed in a very small space. Try a fast HIIT workout in your living room that will get your heart pumping and your legs working. If there are stairs in your home or building (that you can access safely under social distancing rules), try running up and down them a few times a day.
Start Lifting. Many hikers assume that trail fitness is all about stamina, endurance, and cardiovascular capacity. However, strength training is equally as important, allowing you to build lean muscle that can help you over challenging terrain and tricky descents. You don’t need any fancy equipment – bodyweight exercises or homemade weights are just as effective at building muscle. We recommend plenty of squats, lunges, and step-ups, which are essential for strengthening your quads and glutes.
Stretch. If you’re cooped up at home, you’re likely to be spending a lot of your time at a desk or on the couch. Combat this with stretching, yoga and Pilates routines, designed to improve flexibility and core strength. These exercises will improve your hiking posture, thereby avoiding injuries when you finally do get back to the great outdoors. You’ll find yourself with greater balance and stability – essential for dramatic ridge walks or rocky terrain!
Lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t keep dreaming of your next adventure! Once the parks open up again, you’ll be ready and raring to get out on the trail.