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fitness level of average college students?


MyThreeSons
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That does make a big difference. The hike that I referenced at the university here was essentially straight up a mountain, then a walk along a ridge, then straight down the other side. I'm a fair walker but I couldn't have done it comfortably. On the other hand, I could walk for five or six hours up and down a valley (so long as it wasn't high altitude, which isn't something we deal with in Scotland!).

 

L

Given thes additional detail, I would expect that the majority would be feeling it quite strong or even unable to finish it.

 

Everyone in my house could do it.

 

Myself and dh would be quite sore the next 2-3 days. Dh bc he sneezes if he looks out a window. Me because I have a weak leg and hip that would require I be extra cautious and slow if I wanted to finish without injury.

 

My late teens and young adult kids? They'd be fine. But they are very unusual these days here. They are all well below the suggested ideal weight for their age and height and they all do lots of walking (several miles nearly everyday) and spending time on their feet for their work.

 

I'm presuming the hikers have been provided with plentiful water and energy boosting trail mix or something too? That would be the biggest factor to my kids handling it well. If they knew in advance, they'd bring their camel backs and snacks. If they are walking, they never leave the house without them.

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I see a lot of people saying the students would/should be able to do it because campus is huge and they are always carrying heavy backpacks. 

Well, carrying backpacks around campus, even heavy ones, is a far cry from a 13.5 mile hike in the mountains. Students never really walk that far all at once - they walk to class, then sit for an hour or two, then walk to the next class, etc. That doesn't set them up for endurance hiking. 

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I see a lot of people saying the students would/should be able to do it because campus is huge and they are always carrying heavy backpacks.

Well, carrying backpacks around campus, even heavy ones, is a far cry from a 13.5 mile hike in the mountains. Students never really walk that far all at once - they walk to class, then sit for an hour or two, then walk to the next class, etc. That doesn't set them up for endurance hiking.

Exactly.

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I see a lot of people saying the students would/should be able to do it because campus is huge and they are always carrying heavy backpacks.

Well, carrying backpacks around campus, even heavy ones, is a far cry from a 13.5 mile hike in the mountains. Students never really walk that far all at once - they walk to class, then sit for an hour or two, then walk to the next class, etc. That doesn't set them up for endurance hiking.

We 're being silly. We understand that walking to class does not equal a hike.

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You also have to consider being very fit doesn't mean you can switch to a different activity and not feel it. I have a marathon running Crossfit girl in one of my dance classes. She 'feels' the one hour class because the focus is on different muscles. Another friend did a ten mile obstacle course. She reported that she felt it, but not as much as she feels our regular weekly class with the tough dance teacher. It's a matter of what muscle did you repeatedly abuse today to the point that that muscle must repair itself and you can feel it.

 

Also, there are degrees of 'feeling it.' Do you feel a sensation or pain? I've done workshops where I thought I didn't feel it until I attempted a flight of stairs. I once speed-walked a 3-mile charity jog and my hips locked up a bit afterwards because whatever muscles you use to speed walk are NOT muscles I typically abuse.

 

Maybe for accuracy, you have to take these kids on this Bataam march and record who is actually limping the next day and who functions as though nothing happened. You know . . . for science! Go ahead and do it now. We'll wait.

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Given thes additional detail, I would expect that the majority would be feeling it quite strong or even unable to finish it.

 

Everyone in my house could do it.

 

Myself and dh would be quite sore the next 2-3 days. Dh bc he sneezes if he looks out a window. Me because I have a weak leg and hip that would require I be extra cautious and slow if I wanted to finish without injury.

 

My late teens and young adult kids? They'd be fine. But they are very unusual these days here. They are all well below the suggested ideal weight for their age and height and they all do lots of walking (several miles nearly everyday) and spending time on their feet for their work.

 

I'm presuming the hikers have been provided with plentiful water and energy boosting trail mix or something too? That would be the biggest factor to my kids handling it well. If they knew in advance, they'd bring their camel backs and snacks. If they are walking, they never leave the house without them.

 

Being "well below" suggested ideal weight isn't necessarily a good thing.  The person is often carrying much less muscle than is normal for a person of that size/weight.  Also, walking isn't the same thing as hiking.  As I posted earlier, DS runs.  He's a former cross country and distance track runner, so a typical run for him is five miles or more.  That's in addition to the normal amount of walking around a very large university, carrying the typical student backpack.  He also usually does a few half marathons a year.  It's still not the same as trail hiking in the mountains, and realistically I would expect him to have some noticeable soreness the next day.  Probably not a lot, but some.

 

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While I'm no where near a college student, I am in decent shape (run between 15-18 miles a week, practice yoga 5 days a week) I would find a 13.5 mile hike a bit difficult, and I would be feeling it the next day, even if it wasn't a super hard hike (such as steep or rocky).

 

And I know that both of my college age kids would struggle with that hike, and struggle a lot.  At one time they were in good shape (US swimming) but they are no longer swimming and busy with school and work, so not super active right now.  

 

13 miles is a lot, even for a slow, somewhat easier hike.  

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Being "well below" suggested ideal weight isn't necessarily a good thing. The person is often carrying much less muscle than is normal for a person of that size/weight. Also, walking isn't the same thing as hiking. As I posted earlier, DS runs. He's a former cross country and distance track runner, so a typical run for him is five miles or more. That's in addition to the normal amount of walking around a very large university, carrying the typical student backpack. He also usually does a few half marathons a year. It's still not the same as trail hiking in the mountains, and realistically I would expect him to have some noticeable soreness the next day. Probably not a lot, but some.

 

I didn't say anything was the same. Nor did I suggest my kids are unhealthy.

 

But the sad truth is, the majority of students are considerably overweight and rarely walk further than the distance to their car.

 

We could nitpick this apart or simply agree most of those students are going to struggle and leave it at that.

 

I'm confident *my* kids would be fine. They'd be very tired and possibly mildly sore, but they could do it without any undo or lasting hardship.

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I'm confident *my* kids would be fine. They'd be very tired and possibly mildly sore, but they could do it without any undo or lasting hardship.

 

That was the question, though. Not "would the hike cause them lasting hardship," but "would you expect them to feel sore the next day, would they be tired, would they lag?" etc. Not that I'm disagreeing with you, since I know you feel the majority of kids would have a problem with it. But this would seem to say that even kids who would be "fine" with this sort of thing would still find it tiring by the end and be sore the next day. There's nothing bad about that, it seems like a normal physical response to activity like this.

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Most of them. Hiking is a kind of a sport, it's not just walking. Plenty of fit people would have trouble going 13.5 miles because it works the body (esp the feet) in different ways than swimming, aerobics, etc. And plenty of excellent hikers would have trouble with tennis, 100 yd dash, etc.

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I'm curious to hear what y'all think:

 

You have a bunch of college students (17yo to 21yo, about evenly distributed male and female), and one day you tell them you are taking them on a hike. They have not trained or otherwise prepared for this -- you just announce it and take them there. The hike turns out to be 13.5 miles, somewhat but not super strenuous, in the mountains, moderate temperature and humidity.

 

What percentage of students do you think will have some difficulty with this task? (for example, limping, experiencing pain, getting rather winded, or falling behind the group) Do you expect that all will be able to complete the hike? Would you be surprised if some students are "feeling it" the next day?

 

ETA: Oops -- I didn't think to mention that they did have appropriate shoes (sneakers or hiking shoes) and comfortable clothing.

Come back and tell us what this is all about!

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I'm curious to hear what y'all think:

 

You have a bunch of college students (17yo to 21yo, about evenly distributed male and female), and one day you tell them you are taking them on a hike. They have not trained or otherwise prepared for this -- you just announce it and take them there. The hike turns out to be 13.5 miles, somewhat but not super strenuous, in the mountains, moderate temperature and humidity. 

 

What percentage of students do you think will have some difficulty with this task? (for example, limping, experiencing pain, getting rather winded, or falling behind the group)  Do you expect that all will be able to complete the hike? Would you be surprised if some students are "feeling it" the next day?

 

ETA: Oops -- I didn't think to mention that they did have appropriate shoes (sneakers or hiking shoes) and comfortable clothing. 

 

Honestly, it's incredibly irresponsible to lead a group on a spontaneous hike that "turns out to be" 13.5 miles. Did the leader know where they were going, or not?  If so, it would have been wise to tell the students at the outset of the hike, so they could pace themselves accordingly and opt out if they did not feel up to it.  If not, that was bad planning. I assume this was a hike where once begun, you really had not choice but to finish in order to return to "home base".  The leader should have had a map of the trail they were planning to take, which should have indicated the length of the trail and whether there were opportunities along the way to cut the hike short.

 

After being notified, did the students have time to prepare?  When taking a hike that long, it's wise to consider food (protein, carbs, fruit-for-sugar, all chosen to be ok with any special diet), water, whether you need an extra layer of clothes or a layer you can remove, weather issues (rain, sun (thus sunscreen), snow, humidity, wind, as well as temperature), fully-charged cell phone or other plan to access help if someone is injured or ill, back-up battery for the phone, something to sit on during breaks (plastic bag, picnic blanket, sit-upon), feminine hygiene supplies (and a plan for using them if you won't have access to running water and indoor toilets), clothing that doesn't chafe or ride up, appropriate footwear (along with moleskin and bandaids for blisters), any medications that would need to be taken during the trip (even things like antibiotics from a prior cold), and so on.  I also like to remove any unnecessary items from my bag, so it weighs as little as possible, and to choose the bag best suited to the event, so I can comfortably carry whatever I need for the day as I hike.  (Water bottles can be heavy, bags can bang against one's legs, straps can cut into shoulders.  Weight needs to be distributed evenly, and ideally carried from the waist rather than the shoulders.)  

 

As their studies are their primary responsibility, the students would need to know how long of a commitment the event was, time-wise, in order to be sure to be able to complete any homework they had scheduled for the day; fatigue after the hike would also have an impact on the ability to do homework that evening.  Students may also have commitments to campus jobs, family obligations, and so on, that would affect their availability for the length of time the hike would require.

 

As to the shoes - I would choose significantly different shoes for a 5 or 6 mile city walk than a 13.5 mile mountainous hike.  And neither of them would be my sneakers.  And "comfortable clothes" does not mean that what I'd wear for a shorter walk would be appropriate for a day-long hike in the mountains.

 

If nothing else, the leader has taught these kids 1) be prepared when you enter the wilderness, and 2) do not expect a leader to have all your needs taken into consideration, 3) get all the information about an outing up-front, before committing to go along, 4) only go into the wilderness if you, personally, have had the opportunity to prepare accordingly, and have done so.

 

It sounds like this "leader" has likely lost considerable trust from the students, which will then affect anything else they are hoping to accomplish with the group.  And rightly so, as they have been very, very irresponsible.  Adults (and, I would argue, children) have the right to know what they are getting into so that they can prepare accordingly and opt out if they prefer.  

 

(Now, I can see that there might be circumstances where this scenario might emerge despite the leader's best-made plans.  In which case, as much information as possible should shared with the participants as the scenario unfolds, and considerable support and understanding should be given to anyone who is struggling or even just unhappy.  And of course the leader should give apologies and explanations after the event.)

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As described, I would assume ALL of the students would have difficulty with this task, because they were not prepared for it. Hking ten or more miles isn't something you just do on a whim. It takes planning and preparation. Sneakers are not sufficient for 13.5 miles of somewhat strenuous mountain terrain. If you set out on a hike like that with only one pair of socks on, and no moleskin, Body Glide, or bandages, you are going to be in a world of hurt. Not to mention, if you don't bring sufficient water and food, someone could end up in a medical crisis. Where I live, people die when they go hiking without enough water. Also, as others have mentioned, hiking is its own sport, so even if someone is in good shape, if they aren't experienced with hiking, it's going to be hard.

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As I read through this thread, I noticed that many people said there is no way one could hike 13.5 miles in tennis shoes/sneakers. While I agree that the leader shouldn't have made these kids go on this hike, I will have to say that I ONLY hike in running shoes. I don't like hiking shoes, because they're too heavy (for me). Most of my hikes are at least 8 miles, but usually 10-13, and aren't necessarily easy. It's definitely possible.

 

http://s1329.photobucket.com/user/KIMINID/media/image.jpg1_zpshucwvydd.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1

 

ETA: Added a visual of a hike I went on, the last part of which was more of a scramble over rock. I'm at a little over 11,000 feet, the peak behind me is a little over 12,000 feet. I didn't go any further than I am in the pic, because I'm a BIG chicken (it was very steep and up a bunch of boulders that seemed to me they could roll at any second). :)

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My kids prefer sneakers or hiking sandals on hikes as well.

 

I was thinking they'd been told to prepare for a light several-hour hike and ended up on a five-hour hike due to getting lost. I actually have been on a hike in which that happened. Of course the leader apologized profusely.

 

 

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I have a very fit 16 year old daughter.  Last weekend she did a 13.5 km hike (just over 8 miles) with a full rucksack in combat boots for an army cadet training weekend.  She had a lot of pain and still does a week later.  SHe has an issue with her knees called femoral patella syndrome, which is a fancy way of saying her quads are stronger than her hamstrings and so it pulls her knee cap into her femur and hurts but does not actual damage.  WIth no conditioning I would hate to think of how much pain she would have been in.  SHe is in this level of pain, but completed her hike without complaint (and had spent 12 hours the day before canoeing and portaging with full rucksack on too).  There was many kids that were that sore or had sprains and strains and these are youth that train for these weekends with regular PT and fitness testing.  I am not even thinking of the less fit individuals, like my son, who missed his training at this camp due to the flu, but would have been doing the same.  He is not fit, he is overweight and has a weak ankle ever since he got a severe sprain at summer training camp 2 summers ago.  But he would have done the same as dd, finished it without complaint but been extremely sore for some time afterwards.

 

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As I read through this thread, I noticed that many people said there is no way one could hike 13.5 miles in tennis shoes/sneakers. While I agree that the leader shouldn't have made these kids go on this hike, I will have to say that I ONLY hike in running shoes. I don't like hiking shoes, because they're too heavy (for me). Most of my hikes are at least 8 miles, but usually 10-13, and aren't necessarily easy. It's definitely possible.

You're used to hiking though. Someone not used to hiking over rough terrain is probably going to need something a little more supportive.

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As I read through this thread, I noticed that many people said there is no way one could hike 13.5 miles in tennis shoes/sneakers. While I agree that the leader shouldn't have made these kids go on this hike, I will have to say that I ONLY hike in running shoes. I don't like hiking shoes, because they're too heavy (for me). Most of my hikes are at least 8 miles, but usually 10-13, and aren't necessarily easy. It's definitely possible.

 

We live in the mountains. I wear hiking boots, but I'm sure that many teens & college students around here would wear Chacos.

 

I also think that very few college students would be ready for a spur-of-the-moment hike of that length, although they may be physically fit enough to do it.

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As others have already said, I would expect nearly everyone to struggle simply due to lack of preparation. If you told me we were taking a hike I'd probably toss a granola bar, a water bottle and my phone in a backpack, expecting a few miles. I would prepare much differently if you told me it was a 13+ mile hike by bringing a couple extra granola bars or pieces of fruit, extra water, chafing gel, a pair of dry socks, bandaids and moleskin, etc. 

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As I read through this thread, I noticed that many people said there is no way one could hike 13.5 miles in tennis shoes/sneakers. While I agree that the leader shouldn't have made these kids go on this hike, I will have to say that I ONLY hike in running shoes. I don't like hiking shoes, because they're too heavy (for me). Most of my hikes are at least 8 miles, but usually 10-13, and aren't necessarily easy. It's definitely possible.

Yeah, I probably should have clarified that a bit in my post. I prefer lighter shoes, too, and I wear minimalist running shoes for most of my shorter hikes, trail running shoes for my longer hikes. (I only wear "real" hiking boots if it's deep winter and I'm going to be trudging through snow and ice, or if it's especially rocky terrain.) But I would not assume that most people's feet and ankles are up to that task. I mean, I realize it comes down to a matter of personal preference, but that's why surprising a group of people with a 13 mile hike isn't a good idea. They might have worn different shoes if they had known what they'd be doing that day. I have my gym sneakers, and then I have my trail runners - VERY different shoes. Plus, if some in the group were completely inexperienced, they might not have any idea what kind of shoes would serve them best. And a really long hike is not the ideal time to discover "I should have worn more supportive shoes" or "these boots are too heavy".

 

So, yes, I agree with you that not having hiking boots does not mean automatically that it will be a disaster. But not having the right shoes for you for the type of hike that you're going on, that's problematic.

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I'm hoping for an update, too.

 

I am starting to worry that perhaps MyThreeSons led the hike and was surprised to learn that many of the kids had trouble with it, as she had assumed college kids would have been able to handle it without a problem.

 

If that's the case, I still hope she comes back and tells us. My feeling is that even if she was the person who led the hike, I know she would have never intentionally done anything to harm the kids, so I would consider it a lesson learned and let it go.

 

I hope she isn't worried that we will bash and flame her because she may have made different assumptions about the kids' fitness levels than we did. She is always very nice and I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings.

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I'm hoping for an update, too.

 

I am starting to worry that perhaps MyThreeSons led the hike and was surprised to learn that many of the kids had trouble with it, as she had assumed college kids would have been able to handle it without a problem.

 

If that's the case, I still hope she comes back and tells us. My feeling is that even if she was the person who led the hike, I know she would have never intentionally done anything to harm the kids, so I would consider it a lesson learned and let it go.

 

I hope she isn't worried that we will bash and flame her because she may have made different assumptions about the kids' fitness levels than we did. She is always very nice and I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings.

Good points, Cat, and I completely agree!

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I'm hoping for an update, too.

 

I am starting to worry that perhaps MyThreeSons led the hike and was surprised to learn that many of the kids had trouble with it, as she had assumed college kids would have been able to handle it without a problem.

 

If that's the case, I still hope she comes back and tells us. My feeling is that even if she was the person who led the hike, I know she would have never intentionally done anything to harm the kids, so I would consider it a lesson learned and let it go.

 

I hope she isn't worried that we will bash and flame her because she may have made different assumptions about the kids' fitness levels than we did. She is always very nice and I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings.

Yes, tell us the story. We won't judge or bash or flame! :)

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I also would assume the majority would, at the very least, feel it the next day.  My older two are in incredible shape.  They would be feeling it for sure because martial arts, jogging, and walking are not the same as hiking and there are always different muscles to use.  Also, we live, and have always lived, very close to sea level.  Hiking in mountains would be very different for them.

 

When I was a teenager we did a 50 mile hike every year.  We could choose to stop at 12.5, 25, or 37.5 miles.  Each time I chose to stop at 25 miles.  I was hurting at 12.5, but could push myself and go 25.  I was always very sore the next day.  This hike was done near sea level and was pretty flat (along the C&O canal in MD).  If it was in mountains I'd've had to stop at 12.5.

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I agree with Cat.  Even if it turns out the OP led the group on the hike and was surprised at unfit members of the group, I will not point fingers and whisper behind my hand at her and I will not shake my head and give her frowny faces or dagger eyes.  We will all know that it was a lesson learned and move on, as Cat said.  I'm just soooo curious as to what prompted the thread. 

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I won't point fingers for being surprised by the lack of ability to handle the hike.

 

But yeah, very irresponsible and potentially dangerous to go on a spontaneous hike that turns into 13.5 miles. People have ended up seriously injured or dead when that's happened.

 

Somehow I missed the "spontaneous" and "turned into" 13.5 miles aspects of this which completely change my opinion.

 

Those two things can become dangerous for even a very well seasoned hiker.

 

It's not far from a scenario of "spontaneously" decided to take a group to wade along the shore but ended up in the "middle of the lake with no life jacket".

 

If everyone made it back without undo injury, then thank God, offer profuse apologies, and don't ever do that again.

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I'm hoping for an update, too.

 

I am starting to worry that perhaps MyThreeSons led the hike and was surprised to learn that many of the kids had trouble with it, as she had assumed college kids would have been able to handle it without a problem.

 

If that's the case, I still hope she comes back and tells us. My feeling is that even if she was the person who led the hike, I know she would have never intentionally done anything to harm the kids, so I would consider it a lesson learned and let it go.

 

I hope she isn't worried that we will bash and flame her because she may have made different assumptions about the kids' fitness levels than we did. She is always very nice and I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings.

 

Am I the only one who assumed all along that she was just making conversation?

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 (for example, limping, experiencing pain, getting rather winded, or falling behind the group)   Would you be surprised if some students are "feeling it" the next day?

 

 

 

 

All of these happen when I take a group HIIT class at our gym. I'm not mad when it happens- if I can't feel a difference after a workout, it's not much of a workout.  A hike is a workout...it's ok to feel it the next day. 

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As I read through this thread, I noticed that many people said there is no way one could hike 13.5 miles in tennis shoes/sneakers. While I agree that the leader shouldn't have made these kids go on this hike, I will have to say that I ONLY hike in running shoes. I don't like hiking shoes, because they're too heavy (for me). Most of my hikes are at least 8 miles, but usually 10-13, and aren't necessarily easy. It's definitely possible.

 

http://s1329.photobucket.com/user/KIMINID/media/image.jpg1_zpshucwvydd.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1

 

ETA: Added a visual of a hike I went on, the last part of which was more of a scramble over rock. I'm at a little over 11,000 feet, the peak behind me is a little over 12,000 feet. I didn't go any further than I am in the pic, because I'm a BIG chicken (it was very steep and up a bunch of boulders that seemed to me they could roll at any second). :)

It really depends on the terrain. Some places, running shoes are fine. Many mountainous trails you will end up with problems from stone bruising or wet feet. Even something like Chacos can be better than running shoes because they dry faster and have a more dense sole that can protect the sole of the foot. I do a lot of sneaker hiking too, but it depends on the area. If I haven't been on a trail before, I usually opt for my hiking boots in case I am going to need them for rock and water protection. But, yes, I have done 10 miles in running shoes many times.

 

 

Just a note on the general topic: anything over 12 miles is generally rated a difficult hike despite a lack of elevation changes.

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As I read through this thread, I noticed that many people said there is no way one could hike 13.5 miles in tennis shoes/sneakers. While I agree that the leader shouldn't have made these kids go on this hike, I will have to say that I ONLY hike in running shoes. I don't like hiking shoes, because they're too heavy (for me). Most of my hikes are at least 8 miles, but usually 10-13, and aren't necessarily easy. It's definitely possible.

 

http://s1329.photobucket.com/user/KIMINID/media/image.jpg1_zpshucwvydd.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1

 

ETA: Added a visual of a hike I went on, the last part of which was more of a scramble over rock. I'm at a little over 11,000 feet, the peak behind me is a little over 12,000 feet. I didn't go any further than I am in the pic, because I'm a BIG chicken (it was very steep and up a bunch of boulders that seemed to me they could roll at any second). :)

 

Curious question: how do you do in boulder fields and steep scree? I have light weight hiking boots that I prefer on trails, but in more difficult terrain, I wear slightly heavier boots.

But I never found the soles of running shoes to provide adequate friction to go off trail on slick rock or granite slabs. There, I want my vibram soles.

 

(I'm jealous of your hiking opportunities... we get to real mountains only once or twice a year)

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I would expect a significant portion of the young people not to be able to complete the hike comfortably. A large portion of those would complain and gripe and turn back if they had the option. If they had no choice, most would be able to complete it eventually, but there would be blisters, lagging, a large difference between the first and the last hikers (with all the safety issues that brings), and a less than positive atmosphere. I would estimate the number of people who could actually physically not complete the hike to be small.

There is a big difference between "comfortable" and "completely unable under whatever circumstances". In most cases, mind over matter would resolve the situation - except for a few.

 

The above goes for easy terrain with smooth trails. As soon as steep slopes or boulder fields are involved, a large portion of students would be too inexperienced and insecure to attempt such a hike. Having hiked in the mountains with a motivated, but inexperienced person, I came to realize that things an average hiker no longer even notices may pose serious obstacles to a person not used to it. That can be as simple as stepping from stone to stone during a creek crossing or walking up a small step of rocks. The effort required to navigate such minor obstacles may greatly slow down the progress and make a long hike completely out of the question.

 

 I would never want to be with such a group in a million years.

 

I would expect every single person involved to "feel it" the next day. I am an avid hiker, hike every weekend, backpack in the summers, and if I am hiking 13 miles in the mountains, I definitely notice the following day.

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No, I wasn't the one who led the hike. My son was one of the students who went on it. I have received a few more details since I posted the original question. 

 

This was for a gap-year program that my son is doing. Going in, we knew that the program includes challenging the students academically, spiritually, and physically. Ds had more of a handle on the physical aspects than I did. Part of the challenges is being flexible and not always having things your way. The supplies list did include hiking boots for the Spring semester wrap-up backpacking trip, but we hadn't gotten those yet, as we didn't think he needed them in the Fall. 

 

The application for the program included a standard physician's report with immunization records and noting any chronic conditions, limitations or restrictions on the student. It did not include anything like "student must be cleared to do XXX" or "student should be able to run a mile in 10 minutes or lift YY pounds" or anything like that. (I think they're rethinking this aspect for next year. It's a relatively new program, so they're still learning.)

 

The information we were given at parent orientation included details about a 3-credit class they will be doing over the course of the year, which sounds fantastic: all about developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, with components that cover exercise, nutrition, weight management, stress management, etc. It sounds like something I really need to do, and I was excited that ds would have this training. 

 

Five days after I dropped him off, they took the kids on an overnight camping trip. I don't believe they had more than a day's notice that they would be going on it, since ds didn't mention it on Sunday, and they hiked on Tuesday after camping out Monday night. They did pack clothes, shoes, sleeping bags for the overnight. I have no idea how the food was handled on the hike, but ds says they have always been fed well. Knowing this group, I'd imagine they were well prepared with first aid supplies and such. 

 

Ds says he wouldn't use the word "strenuous", but there were inclines and descents. I'm still not sure of how mountainous it really was. And I don't know whether they were told it would be 13.5 miles before they embarked on it. 

 

One girl lagged behind, and there was at least one leader and another student who stayed with her. Ds was hurting, but completed the hike. He was sore the next several days.

 

It sounds like most of the kids (40 of them) did quite well, which surprised me. And I was surprised that the leaders were surprised that some of the kids struggled. I was just wanting to know if you all would have been surprised. 

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It sounds like most of the kids (40 of them) did quite well, which surprised me. And I was surprised that the leaders were surprised that some of the kids struggled. I was just wanting to know if you all would have been surprised. 

 

I would be very surprised by it, if it had been a random sample of college students.

These students elected to participate in this particular program, so there is some self selection; how surprised I'd be would depend on the reputation of the program. If the program description greatly emphasizes fitness and physical challenge etc, I'd be less surprised, because I'd figure only kids who are up to this would choose to participate.

It would also depend on what demographic the leaders are used to - they may have experienced other groups.

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No, I wasn't the one who led the hike. My son was one of the students who went on it. I have received a few more details since I posted the original question. 

 

This was for a gap-year program that my son is doing. Going in, we knew that the program includes challenging the students academically, spiritually, and physically. Ds had more of a handle on the physical aspects than I did. Part of the challenges is being flexible and not always having things your way. The supplies list did include hiking boots for the Spring semester wrap-up backpacking trip, but we hadn't gotten those yet, as we didn't think he needed them in the Fall. 

 

The application for the program included a standard physician's report with immunization records and noting any chronic conditions, limitations or restrictions on the student. It did not include anything like "student must be cleared to do XXX" or "student should be able to run a mile in 10 minutes or lift YY pounds" or anything like that. (I think they're rethinking this aspect for next year. It's a relatively new program, so they're still learning.)

 

The information we were given at parent orientation included details about a 3-credit class they will be doing over the course of the year, which sounds fantastic: all about developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, with components that cover exercise, nutrition, weight management, stress management, etc. It sounds like something I really need to do, and I was excited that ds would have this training. 

 

Five days after I dropped him off, they took the kids on an overnight camping trip. I don't believe they had more than a day's notice that they would be going on it, since ds didn't mention it on Sunday, and they hiked on Tuesday after camping out Monday night. They did pack clothes, shoes, sleeping bags for the overnight. I have no idea how the food was handled on the hike, but ds says they have always been fed well. Knowing this group, I'd imagine they were well prepared with first aid supplies and such. 

 

Ds says he wouldn't use the word "strenuous", but there were inclines and descents. I'm still not sure of how mountainous it really was. And I don't know whether they were told it would be 13.5 miles before they embarked on it. 

 

One girl lagged behind, and there was at least one leader and another student who stayed with her. Ds was hurting, but completed the hike. He was sore the next several days.

 

It sounds like most of the kids (40 of them) did quite well, which surprised me. And I was surprised that the leaders were surprised that some of the kids struggled. I was just wanting to know if you all would have been surprised. 

 

I wonder...Was the 13.5 miles done all at once, or was the total trip that long? If it was the total trip, it would be pretty ideal for a backpack trip with novices. Or, was this a hike done on Tuesday without a pack? Which is asking a bit. I would expect most to be able to do it, but I would also expect quite a few to struggle with it (which seems to be what they were wanting from the description of the class).

 

 

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Given the information you've provided, I wouldn't have described this as "turning out to be a 13.5 mile hike" or it being spontaneous. These are not six-year-olds-- if they are told it's an overnight in the mountains, you'd think most of them would have the sense to prepare for an all-day thing and quite a bit of hiking. This isn't "average" students, but students who've signed up for something on purpose, to challenge themselves.

 

So I think it sounds like a reasonable challenge.

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Given the information you've provided, I wouldn't have described this as "turning out to be a 13.5 mile hike" or it being spontaneous. These are not six-year-olds-- if they are told it's an overnight in the mountains, you'd think most of them would have the sense to prepare for an all-day thing and quite a bit of hiking. This isn't "average" students, but students who've signed up for something on purpose, to challenge themselves.

 

So I think it sounds like a reasonable challenge.

I agree. The details change everything. This isn't a random group of college-aged people. These are people who have signed up for a physically challenging...er...challenge.

 

I think the way it turned out sounds exactly the way it should be expected to have turned out--with the people being sore for a few days and one person struggling at the rear.

 

Well, curiosity satisfied! Thanks for explaining.

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No, I wasn't the one who led the hike. My son was one of the students who went on it. I have received a few more details since I posted the original question.

 

This was for a gap-year program that my son is doing. Going in, we knew that the program includes challenging the students academically, spiritually, and physically. Ds had more of a handle on the physical aspects than I did. Part of the challenges is being flexible and not always having things your way. The supplies list did include hiking boots for the Spring semester wrap-up backpacking trip, but we hadn't gotten those yet, as we didn't think he needed them in the Fall.

 

The application for the program included a standard physician's report with immunization records and noting any chronic conditions, limitations or restrictions on the student. It did not include anything like "student must be cleared to do XXX" or "student should be able to run a mile in 10 minutes or lift YY pounds" or anything like that. (I think they're rethinking this aspect for next year. It's a relatively new program, so they're still learning.)

 

The information we were given at parent orientation included details about a 3-credit class they will be doing over the course of the year, which sounds fantastic: all about developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, with components that cover exercise, nutrition, weight management, stress management, etc. It sounds like something I really need to do, and I was excited that ds would have this training.

 

Five days after I dropped him off, they took the kids on an overnight camping trip. I don't believe they had more than a day's notice that they would be going on it, since ds didn't mention it on Sunday, and they hiked on Tuesday after camping out Monday night. They did pack clothes, shoes, sleeping bags for the overnight. I have no idea how the food was handled on the hike, but ds says they have always been fed well. Knowing this group, I'd imagine they were well prepared with first aid supplies and such.

 

Ds says he wouldn't use the word "strenuous", but there were inclines and descents. I'm still not sure of how mountainous it really was. And I don't know whether they were told it would be 13.5 miles before they embarked on it.

 

One girl lagged behind, and there was at least one leader and another student who stayed with her. Ds was hurting, but completed the hike. He was sore the next several days.

 

It sounds like most of the kids (40 of them) did quite well, which surprised me. And I was surprised that the leaders were surprised that some of the kids struggled. I was just wanting to know if you all would have been surprised.

Whew! I'm glad for the follow up bc I was picturing all kinds of messed up and this sounds quite normal and great. I'm not surprised they did well bc they purposely signed onto a program of this caliber and expected to do things like go on over night hikes. Wonderful. It sounds like it went as expected for the most part and was well planned, even if it was short notice. Glad to hear it.

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My daughter is a dance minor in college, on her college dance team, walks all over campus and has a (retail) job where she's on her feet the whole time.  She's done the Pike Hike from Fort Lee NJ to Ground Zero in NYC every year with her sorority. That is 17 miles on mainly flat paved roads.  Most of the sorority is able to complete it.  Most of them (including dd) feel sore afterwards. 

 

I can walk quite a bit on level ground.  Walking up and down trails is a lot harder IMO.

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Curious question: how do you do in boulder fields and steep scree? I have light weight hiking boots that I prefer on trails, but in more difficult terrain, I wear slightly heavier boots.

But I never found the soles of running shoes to provide adequate friction to go off trail on slick rock or granite slabs. There, I want my vibram soles.

 

(I'm jealous of your hiking opportunities... we get to real mountains only once or twice a year)

I'm not usually hiking over boulders, but the rocks where I hike are pretty rough, so they provide quite a bit of friction. I've traversed a few shale slides, but again, my shoes have done fine. Where I've actually struggled is going up a steep trail with only loose dirt. I've many times had to grab hold of anything I could just to get up the stretch. Going down is worse. A good pair of hiking boots might be nice in those situations, but they don't make up the entire hike, so I prefer the running shoes. I've even had to make my way through snow in late spring/early summer.

 

I'm kind of weird with how I like my shoes to feel on my feet. I really don't like to feel that I have them on, thus why I prefer the weight of running shoes. If I was backpacking and carrying a heavy load, I would most likely wear hiking boots.

 

I'm very lucky to live so close to such awesome mountains! It is a bit of a drive to get to them, but easily doable in a day.

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I have nothing to add except I have and do hike 13+ mountainous miles in trail running shoes. Unless it is snowy, they are seen as appropriate by many long distance hikers.

 

Okay, what I actually should have said is that no one should be expected to go on a 13-mile hike in the mountains with the tennis shoes they happen to have on their feet, which is what I inferred from the OP. 

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