There are a few different ways to conduct a day hike. There are Out and Back Hikes, Loop Hikes, and End 2 End Hikes. Out and Back can get boring, Loop Hikes are sometimes difficult to find and typically rather short. But End 2 End (point to point) Hikes are where it's at! These allow you to cover the most ground in a day, and always have fresh views along the way. But it does have it's problems, mainly in the transportation field. So let's look at a few ways to deal with the in's and out's of hiker transportation.
Sure, loops are great, but sometimes the best use of time involves a one-way, point-to-point hike and a car shuttle. (Case in point: section-hiking a long trail). But don’t let the logistics get you down. Here are 4 different options, and some tips to make sure you get to the trail (and back) without a hitch.
Option A: Sweet-talk your loved ones
Convince your family or friends to drop you off and pick you up. Coerce them with promises of mountain views, good company, and half your post-hike pizza. This works best when you have a reliable idea of when you’ll be finishing your hike. Be a good friend and try to arrive early, so you’re waiting on your ride, not the other way around.
Option B: Get professional help
Only one car at your disposal? Yo-yo the trail (turn the section into an out-and-back) or consider hiring a service. Do a web search for “hiker shuttles to” the intended trail. Or search out Facebook Groups for that trail. Many trails have "Trail Angels" that will be willing to help for a small fee. Finally, find local towns and use their taxi cab services. Ideally, make arrangements at least 1-2 weeks ahead of time to ensure availability.
Option C: Full DIY
Want to keep the car shuttling business between hikers? Here’s how (provided you have at least one partner in crime and extra vehicle): Drive two cars to the trailhead and drop off any extra passengers. Then take both cars, each bearing only a driver, to the trail’s end. Leave the bigger car there and have the other take both drivers (and both sets of keys!) to the trailhead. Start hiking. At the end, cram everyone into the one car, then split the load between cars when you return to the trailhead. If you have more than one car’s worth of passengers, just make sure you bring the second car’s driver along so she can pickup those stranded at the trail terminus after being reunited with her wheels.
Option D: Key hand-off
Consider sending hiking parties from either end of the trail. Swap cars at the start so that you arrive at your own vehicle at the end of the day. Don’t forget to exchange keys when you pass each other mid-hike. A temporary tattoo to the forehead makes for a good reminder.
A Few Tips
1. Front-load the drive
If you opt for a professional or friend-based shuttle service, make sure it’s on the front end! This means, park your vehicle at the trail terminus and get shuttled to your starting line. (It’s easy to be on time for a trip departure, but missing a post-trip pickup due to unforeseen delays can be a real bummer).
2. Stock the getaway car
Fill the getaway car with dry, clean layers, water, and snacks. When you trudge into the parking lot after unsuspected torrential rainfall, you’ll want them. Plus, a car full of water, snacks, and clean socks will reward you after a long trek. Only exception: Bear country. It’s not uncommon for a hungry bruin to break into vehicle if it smells food.
3. Strategize like a war general
If shuttling with others, have a planning meeting the day prior. Stretch out a map, drain a couple of beers, and model your car movement strategy with the bottles. Toy cars and figurines from the Game of Life can also be useful.
4. Account for the STUFF
If you’re shuttling cars for a long hike, make sure you account for the egregious amount of space full packs can take up in the car.
5. Be a good DJ
Burn some CDs, stock your phone, or download a few Spotify playlists before you take off. Some trails are off grid, and radio reception can be frightfully erratic. Choose tunes that will keep you stoked for your adventure.
When dropping off a car, lock CDs, expensive stereos, GPS units, sunglasses, and other valuables safely out of sight – or, better yet, remove them entirely and leave the glove box open and empty (unless this activates a light that will drain your battery). Don’t reverse into your spot with the trunk facing the woods, and don’t leave notes for your friends advising them of your plans – better to leave word of your whereabouts before you leave for the trip.
Written by Corey Buhay for Backpacker Magazine on June 5, 2015
(Sunday, June 26, 2022)
Today I am out guiding my last day hike for the time being. Until things at the casino pick up during the weekdays again, I will be not be able to have any weekends off, and as such, will not be able to guide hikes for the club on Saturdays and Sundays as I have been doing since 2009. I will miss everyone and our adventures very much. However, that doesn't mean the fun will end for you. Christopher along with Bruno, and Mike have agreed to lead some hikes for the club. I will plan hikes as I always have, post them to the Events Page, and you will be able to register as you have always done. I will still post the weather, and a list of what you should wear and bring, but you will be responsible for yourself. Christopher and Mike will lead the way only. They will not be responsible for your safety or well being. So please be prepared and be safe. I will also still be available via email or text if you need advice or guidance before attending the hike. Please note, I do work nights, so no early morning calls please. As for me, I will now be off work from 4am Thursday morning until 8pm Saturday night each week. I will still get some hiking in, as I have found at least one person that would like to hike on Fridays, and I am hoping to get back to rock climbing more on Thursday evenings. If you would like to join me for Thursday Rock Climbing, or Friday Day Hikes, please get in touch by replying to this email.
That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club