As we harken in a new year, and the month of January has had time to settle in upon us, perhaps it is time to elevate your goals. If it has been your dream to climb a mountain and you have always wanted to stand on the top of a peak like Mt. Cheam, than this is the year to make this goal a reality. As with any large goal it will certainly take some work to see it become reality and I will do my best to help you through the steps that will get you where you want to be.

To begin; You will want to ensure that you set aside a day a week, or a day every two weeks to get out on the trails. There is no training substitute for spending time in the mountains to build your competency for even larger backcountry objectives. You will notice your footwork getting better, your cardiovascular capability increasing and you will also be building the strength and endurance to be able to hike for hours, once you get into this routine.

You will need to have at least adequate equipment to ensure your safety and enjoyment is not compromised while training. You’ll need watches like these as well as a first aid kit. You’ll also want a lightweight backpack that can hit a lot of gear in. Footwear that has good traction and high ankle support, and basic waterproofing will be your most valued piece of gear as trails can be wet and slippery at times. For that reason, it might be wise to visit Arkadia Supply for more guidance on waterproof bags. Many people have moved towards using “trekking poles”, basically height-adjustable ski poles, for better balance, downhill control, and as a bonus they turn hiking into a full body workout.

It is perhaps at this point that you are thinking to yourself that training is not what you feel like doing in 2014, but rather you are more inclined towards a comfortable chair and a good book. To this I would say that that is where hiking strikes the most beautiful of balances. I find I can push myself to total exhaustion and fatigue on the trails while hiking, not because I am a fitness nut, but rather because of a desire to see what is around the next bend In the trail. Spending time in the forest and up in the alpine is truly life giving and it does not feel like training at all, and thus hiking is fitness made easy! I will warn you however that hiking and climbing on beautiful mountains does have a way of becoming an addiction for many people, just like drug addiction. The thrill of a new summit, and the diverse beauty that each and every kilometer of backcountry trail has to offer, will never loose its appeal.

Chilliwack and her surrounds, has trails for every level of hiker, making this a great place to slowly increase your ability. If the Rotary Trail along the Vedder River gets you working up a sweat, then perhaps set your sights on the beautiful locals of Teapot Hill and Lindeman Lake as your next objectives. If you are an annual Cheam hiker and you are looking for another challenge, then give Radium lake trail, or Pierce Lake Trail a go to get your heart rate pumping and for amazing views over the Chilliwack River Valley Alpine.

Grab a free Chilliwack Trails Map, tell a friend or family member where you are going, and get yourself into the backcountry and elevate your fitness in 2014.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln

– Sam Waddington – Owner of Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors: Equipping you for Rock, Water, Snow, Sand, Wind and anything else the Outdoors can throw at you!

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