“If we demonstrate the value of nature,” he says, “if we teach it well, in such a way that people have fun and enjoy the experience, it generates a link between them and nature, and this link will be of inestimable value in absolutely everything they will ever do.”
This is truly a noble undertaking in a society where the younger generation would often happily keep their eyes glued to a smartphone 24 hours a day if they could get away with it.
The trick is that enticing city slickers of any age to follow a trail into the unknown could go terribly wrong. If, at the end of their first such experience, they come home utterly wiped out, chewed on by gnats, covered in poison ivy and walking on blisters, it’s a sure thing that they’ll never go on a second hike — and down the line, they will probably make sure their children won’t either. Hence this book.
“Be prepared!” is definitely the right motto for anyone about to walk into the woods, and here, González shares his hard-won experience and discoveries about proper hiking gear with those willing to follow him out of their comfortable homes and into the fascinating forests, mountains, deserts, canyons and jungles that Mexico is famed for:
So far, no one has ever shown up for one of my hikes wearing high heels but, yes, a few people have arrived wearing flip-flops.
Layers are the secret, says González, and I completely agree. Use quick-dry fabric for your innermost layer, he says, and Polartec for the next layer.
An encounter with wild mint (insert). “Close your eyes and learn to fine-tune your sense of smell,” says González.
“It will keep you warm and dry in every sort of climate or situation.”
For your topmost layer, González recommends Gore-Tex: “It’s like armor against water, wind and cold, but it allows your body to breathe and keeps you dry.”
What about sleeves and pant legs: long or short?
Here are a few arguments for long: güinas (chiggers), garrapatas (ticks), jejenes (biting gnats), stinging ants, Africanized bees and dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
Also, there’s plants you won’t want to touch: …….