Rests

Even the strongest and most experienced hikers need occasional full rests.

During the first half-hour of a hike, stop for a shakedown rest. This lets hikers loosen or tighten boot laces, adjust pack straps, add or take off layers of clothing.

In groups that include both men and women, remember to declare regular party separations (toilet stops), especially out of courtesy to the hiker who may be too shy to express the need. With large groups, the day's first party separation should come before the hike begins, at a service station or outhouse near the trailhead.

During the early part of the day, while your body is fresh, take short, infrequent breathers. Rest in a standing or semi-reclining position, leaning against a tree or hillside to remove pack weight from the shoulders, take deep breaths, and have a bite to eat.

Later, with the body demanding more complete relaxation, the party can take a sackout rest every hour or two. When it's about time for a stop, look for a place with special advantages, such as water, view, flowers, and convenient slopes for unsling-ing packs. Don't prolong such lovely rests. It's agonizing to resume a march once muscles become cold and stiff. But do remember to eat small amounts of food and drink water during rest stops.

A climbing party sprawled along the trail is not getting any closer to its objective. Take rests when necessary. Otherwise keep moving, unless there's so much extra time in the day that you can afford a luxury rest.

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