Frequently asked questions

How fit do I need to be to go on a Wanderbirds hike?

You should be able to walk 7 miles within 4-5 hours, including going up hills which may be steep and rocky at times. Our moderate hikes usually have between 1000 and 2000 feet of elevation gain. That's like climbing the Washington Monument 2 to 4 times! Easier options are often available. Check with the leader when signing up. Click here for more information.

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What kind of footwear will I need?

Experienced hikers almost always wear well broken-in boots (see an outfitter like REI or Hudson Trails.) You can sometimes get along with running shoes, but trails can be rough and boots offer better protection. Ankle-high boots offer more protection against ankle sprains than low-tops (which, however, are worn by many hikers). Water-resistant boots (Gore-Tex®-lined) are available and may help keep your feet dry in rain and during stream crossings.

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What kind of clothing should I wear?

You should always carry rain gear--waterproof jacket or poncho--in case of showers or storms. In warm or hot weather, wicking tee shirts made of polyester are better than cotton, which may become sodden with perspiration. Many hikers wear shorts in hot weather, although long trousers offer better protection. Trousers with zip-off legs are very popular.

In cold weather dressing in layers is a good idea, which allows you to remove or add clothing as needed. Numbers and kinds of layers are a matter of individual needs which you will learn by experience.

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How much water and food should I bring?

Bring about 2 quarts (liters) of water, especially on hot days. When in doubt, bring more. Many hikers also bring sports drinks.

Pack a light lunch for the trail.

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Do I need sunscreen and insect repellent?

Always use sunscreen (at least SPF 30) on exposed areas to prevent sun burn which may be a causal factor in skin cancer.

Insect repellent is recommended to combat ticks, mosquitoes, and gnats. However, after a hike you should always inspect yourself for ticks, which may carry serious diseases.

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Do I need to be a club member to hike with the Wanderbirds?

The best thing is that you don't have to be a member of the club to hike with us! Just sign on to a hike and come out with us. If you enjoy hiking with us and want to become a member of the club, you can do so on the bus (talk to the leader). Membership is $20 per calendar year. You can also contact us and request a schedule and application form which you can mail back.

Or, you can fill in a membership form online, print it out, and either mail it to us with your check, or pay online with PayPal or a credit card and send us the form by e-mail.

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What should I know about ticks?

You can find out about ticks and the problems they present to hikers by clicking here.

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