My activations so far have been day hikes. I avoid round trip hikes of more than about 12-14 miles, and scrutinize hikes rated difficult to ensure they are not beyond my capabilities. As I typically hike solo, I do not want to end up in a bad situation.
I start my planning the night before, to ensure an early start. Here are some preparation tasks:
- Load trail into Alltrails assuming one exists.
- Load relevant Caltopo maps into my phone.
- Print three copies of Caltopo and Alltrails maps: one for the hike, one to leave in my car, and one to leave with my wife. The latter two are in case I do not come back in time and a search is required.
- Pack wide area maps into my pack. Tom Harrison maps are preferred.
- Ensure I have enough Clif bars to last a whole day. I take about 4 or so.
- Charge my phone, my Garmin GPS, and my HT
- Pack my HT antenna, a bandpass filter, my notebook and pencils.
- Review AllTrails direction to trailhead. Print this out as the GPS in my car usually cannot provide directions to trailheads.
- Gas up my car.
The morning of the hike, I fill up my water bottles, check the directions, and go through my pack to make sure I have everything.