Summer Hikes: Beginners Guide to Pacific Northwest Trails

Graphic by (Diana Aristizábal Velásquez/The Independent)
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Brayden Clark (Andy Bao/The Independent)

As the weather warms and skies clear, Clark students across campus are feeling the effects of spring fever. For novice hikers who are looking for a way to begin, these tips may provide a place to start.

One of the first things prospective hikers should do is decide on and research the trails they want to visit. This means figuring out how difficult the area may be compared to their experience and physical ability, how far it is and understanding the trail map.

After researching, it’s important to let others know the location of the hike and how long it will take.  This lets others know where to start looking in case of an emergency. It may also be a good idea for less experienced hikers to bring a friend or two along.

Hikers need to be equipped with the necessary gear for the areas they choose to trek. Failure to pack and use the right supplies could leave adventurers stranded, injured or lost.

Samantha Wendland, the president of Clark’s Outdoor and Recreation Program and vice-president Emily Shirron, both suggest stopping by Next Adventure in Portland to find sales and deals on all kinds of outdoor gear and equipment.

Wendland said the Outdoor and Recreation Program is open to all students. In addition to hiking and backpacking, the program also does kayaking, archery, zip-lining, surfing, snowshoeing and other outdoor activities.

Students can learn more by emailing Dave Caldwell, the program’s advisor at dcaldwell@clark.edu. They can also find more on the program’s Facebook page.

Students who are itching to hit the trails for the first time can also learn more about hiking by taking one of Clark’s hiking classes. PE 182 is a one credit class that meets three times a quarter and teaches students about the basics of hiking.

Students enrolled in the class will go on three off-campus hikes to learn about safety, trail etiquette and low-impact hiking methods. Clark recommends students have above average physical fitness if they plan on taking PE 182. There are two sections of the course available for Summer quarter 2017.

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