Ashland Hiking Group
The AHG is a group of friends that hike and snowshoe together regularly on Mondays and Wednesdays. Our hikes are usually within a two hour drive of Ashland and vary in difficulty. If you would like to join one of our hikes please contact either John (541-630-0026) for a Monday hike or Keeley (541-646-8797) for a Wednesday hike.
The Monday hikes tend to be slightly easier than the Wednesday hikes. However, for either group you need to be in reasonably good shape. You should be able to hike the White Rabbit Trail here in Ashland in 45 minutes or less if you plan to hike with the Monday group and in less than 35 minutes for the Wednesday group..
Please read the Participant Waiver information on our home page and be prepared to sign a waiver provided by the hike leader prior to hiking with us.
You should be ready for any kind of weather that you might encounter on the hike. Mountain conditions can change very quickly. You should carry something rain proof and if the forecast is for rain you need some waterproof pants. If there is weather in the 40's at any time you might want to have a light and warm jacket in your pack. Down works well because it is light and warm. Also gloves and a warm hat. Frequent clothing changes are to be expected so layer.
Tip: At the Dollar stores they often sell a small pancho in a pack for, your guessed it, a dollar. They weigh nothing and take no room so I leave one permanently in my pack. That way I can never forget to pack something waterproof and windproof. I also have Dollar Store fleece gloves and a hat which weigh next to nothing.
Please take the time to buy a) a roll of self-adhesive bandage tape, b) a small tube of disinfectant and c) a few band-aids to carry in your pack at all times. Eventually you or someone you are hiking with will need some first aid. I was able to patch up someone with a nasty cut this summer. Advil may also be a good idea.
You either like using poles or you don't. They can help with ascents and descents. They can help with balance. On the other side they can interfere with your normal stride or get in the way when you want to grab something. My preference is to carry poles or a pole when a) the trail is loose, b) I want to cushion a descent, c) there are water crossings, or d) I have no idea what to expect. Lately I have been using one pole as it gives one that feeling of Moses leading the tribe. By all means try using poles and in any case you need them for snowshoeing. I prefer ones with clamps for extensions and the lighter the better. I use carbon fiber poles with cork handles. I leave the winter baskets on my poles as it prevents them going deep into some crevice when crossing rocks.
You can rent some to try out the concept. You can get larger ones where you won't sink as much in loose snow, shorter ones that are easier to handle, or shorter ones with extensions. Do not get the very short ones which have you up to your hips in loose snow. My preference is for models that are easier to put on and take off in bad weather. They work with a ratchet that immediately tightens or loosens a strap. I also prefer a model with teeth under the sides so you don't slip sideways, backwards or forwards. I use MSR which I bought on Amazon.
You need good boots to protect your feet and give you support. Running shoes do not work on sharp rocks and give little ankle support. There are numerous brands but all include low and higher models and waterproof or non-water proof. Higher models give more support but are heavier. Waterproof boots are good this time of year but hot and sweaty, even if Goretex, in the summer. I have several models that I use according to conditions, but usually I will wear a low waterproof in winter. Higher boots keep your feet from bunching forward on a sharp descent but again are heavier on the way up.
Merrill Moabs are probably the most popular model but you may prefer something else. Dicks (Field and Stream) has a large assortment with all sizes available. Mountain stores can give advice but stock tends to be limited.
Tip: If you are hard to fit because of a high arch or a bunion, the problem is that the widest part of your foot is further down than normal. I took advice and started buying longer wide boots so that the widest part of my foot coincided with the widest part of the boot. Took me from a 10 to 11.5. Hiking boots have good ankle support and I wear heavy socks so it works perfectly. I asked an old doctor whether I should have foot surgery and he replied that there would be a 25% chance of pain the rest of my life, or I could just buy bigger shoes. I also wear a light inner sock to prevent chafing. You can get the best socks at REI. Beware of synthetic socks that slip or bunch up. They look good but are useless.
Like many of our Wednesday hikers I have an Osprey pack. You want a very light pack with one big storage pocket, not multiple compartments. You never know what you need to put in and it holds a lot. The weight is spread between your shoulders and your hips and you have adjustable straps across your waist and chest. It is very durable.
Put your cell phone on airplane mode so it won't look for stations that are not here and run down you battery.
Gaiters can keep the mud and snow off of you and low gaiters are good for dust in the summer. High gaiters add some warmth which could be good or bad.