|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – November 2008
From navigation to staying dry to predicting the weather, our primer will have you dialed.
Navigate Off-Trail | Stay Dry in a Downpour | Descend Safely | Beat Fatigue on Steep Climbs | Read a Rattlesnake's Body Language | Predict Weather With an Altimeter | Identify a Mountain Lion Track | 5 Ways to Navigate Without a Compass | 4 Ways to Prevent Blisters | Lace Your Boots for Maximum Comfort | Take a Perfect Summit Photo | Two-Second Tips
Nothing is harder on the knees than hiking downhill on steep terrain while wearing a heavy pack. To avoid injury:
1) Make sure your hip, knee, and foot are aligned when stepping off or over big ledges. This protects you from rolling an ankle and takes the strain off your leg muscles and joints.
2) Keep your knee slightly bent as you transfer weight onto the downhill leg, which allows your muscles–not the joint–to absorb the impact.
3) Use the "double plant" when stepping off huge ledges: With hands firmly grasping the tops of the handles, place both of your trekking poles simultaneously on either side of the spot where you'll be putting your foot. Lower yourself slowly, using the poles like crutches.