Our small band of Hell Hike & Raft participants have been getting to know one another. We’ve got a seriously terrific group of hikers and I am growing eager to meet them all in person. Pablo suggested we set up weekly challenges to help us get ready for the adventure ahead and already it has been terrific fun. This past week’s challenges included:

Hike a local trail of at least 3 miles total
We hiked 3.5 miles on Wednesday with our Hopeful Hikers at Homer Lake, and then another 11 miles on the challenging Forest Glen backpacking loop. Good times all around!

Go to your local outdoor store of preference (REI for me) and ask/look for hiking shoes/boots
Champaign Surplus is a local favorite, so we stopped by to look at shoes. I got a replacement for my torn trail runners from REI, so I will be wearing those in Idaho. Arbor isn’t sure what he wants to do yet and asked the fabulous Patrick all about their hiking selection. Unfortunately, so many hiking shoes these days involve Gortex. While it’s a terrific component for day hiking, its a bad idea for multi-day outings. Once treated shoes get wet, they just don’t dry out – so having footwear with great ventilation is really important. Ultimately, we didn’t get any shoes, but I did manage to score an excellent shirt. (on sale!)

I also want to take a moment to introduce one of our sponsors, who is becoming an important part of the Hell Hike & Raft family. Teton Sports is an outdoor gear company dedicated to making durable products that won’t kill the pocketbook. They sell backpacks, sleeping bags, cots, tents and more. Scott, our intrepid leader, owns a Teton tent and brings it along to meetups, so I’ve had the chance to see it up close. Knowing firsthand how cool the tent is, I am really excited to see what we will be testing on this trip.

In addition to making awesome equipment, Teton Sports also hosts the weekly Twitter #Hikerchat! For an hour every Friday at 11:00 Central, a fast flying conversation begins while using the #hikerchat hashtag. There is typically a theme and a schedule of questions that the hosts toss out for everyone to answer. If you have a Twitter account I encourage you to join in. It’s a lot of fun, a terrific way to meet other enthusiasts, and a chance to share your own outdoor stories and goals.

Hell Hike & Raft still has spots available! Apply today and join us on this amazing adventure.