One of the best parts about smoking cannabis is that it makes so many fun activities even better. Think about it: food tastes better when you have the munchies, music sounds amazing when you’re high, and conversation is often more interesting. But what about an outdoor activity like hiking? Does weed pair well with strenuous exercise, or does it make you sluggish and unable to get off the couch?
A few things to consider when deciding whether to go on a high hike:
Know Your Strain
The truth is, cannabis affects everyone differently and you should know what strains result in which types of highs for you personally. If you find the right strain, high hikes can be one of the best cannabis activities out there. What’s better than reaching the peak and experiencing a breathtaking view with the full intensity of a nice cannabis buzz?
Typically, indicas are the more couch-locking strains available, so if you’re preparing for a day of full exercise, then you may want to steer more toward the sativa-dominant side of things when trekking uphill. But definitely consider the view at the peak as well, in terms of what strains make beautiful views even more intense. Maybe you want to wait until you reach the top before you spark up a pipe, in which case an indica or hybrid might be the perfect complement to your day.
All in all, if you are walking at a brisk pace, then adrenaline should kick in and minimize any laziness or couchlock effect brought on by cannabis. Once you get going, your energy level will likely increase.
What to Bring
When going on a high hike, it’s best to have a checklist of things to bring to make sure you’ve covered all the bases. Obviously, the staples for a typical hiking trip apply: bring a backpack with several bottles of water, snacks (including granola bars or sandwiches), basic first-aid supplies, and your phone for emergency purposes. Specifically regarding water, always plan on bringing a little bit more than you think you’ll need. There’s nothing worse than being thirsty on a hike, and when you combine that with the onset of cotton mouth, you’ll be thankful to have those two extra pints of Poland Spring in your backpack. An extra snack or two is probably a good choice to satisfy a case of the munchies, and a Red Bull or other energy drink might be suitable in case the cannabis tires you out a bit. In addition, double-check to make sure you brought your herb, a pipe or rolling papers, and a lighter with sufficient fluid (maybe two). If the pipe isn’t brand-new, remember to include a paper clip or something else for cleaning purposes. It’d be a shame to have your high hike ruined by a clogged pipe.
Edibles produce a mellow high that has a slow onset and usually reaches its peak effect at about two hours in. For the right hike, edibles can be a perfect alternative to smoking for several reasons. They don’t cause coughing and dry mouth, which can be advantageous when you’re on a steep incline. If you are timing things right, your buzz will slowly build as you walk along the trail and reach a crescendo when your body has already released tons of endorphins that are brought on by a good hike. Combining that with reaching the view at the end of the trail (be it a lake, a view of the mountains, or what have you) creates a total mind-and-body high that is intense and humbling at the same time. A tasty treat with 10 milligrams of cannabis baked in can be enough to make things come alive, without causing any paranoia that might occur with larger doses.
Don’t Believe the Stigma
Those anti-marijuana television ads in the 1980s are not reality. No, smoking a bowl of cannabis won’t make you jump off a cliff at the end of a high hike. You won’t get lost on the trail, as long as you stay on the designated paths and bring a compass. If you’re going on a high hike, you certainly do not want to get so blasted that you forget where you are or get too lazy to walk. But when consumed in moderate amounts, cannabis is one of the best ways to make a great hike even better.
The combination of good exercise and good weed is often underrated, and it can be a really peaceful mind-and-body sensation to get a little toasted while throwing a ball around or going for a jog with some friends. The key is just responsibility. Be aware of how certain strains of weed or edibles affect you, understand what dosage is optimal, and take all the safety precautions one would typically employ while on a hiking excursion. If you’re unsure of what to purchase, always chat it up with a budtender at your local dispensary and explain that you’re looking for the perfect hiking experience. Now get out there and enjoy the trails!