FAQs--Frequently Asked Questions
Can I come on a hike without being a member of the PTC?
Certainly! We welcome guests on all our hikes. If you enjoy hiking and want to participate regularly, or even occasionally, on our hikes and other activities, we'd love to have you come along. And if you decide to join at some point, the annual dues are only $10, and you'll be helping to support our bi-monthly Bulletin and this website among other things.
I haven't hiked much in the past. Are there easy hikes for beginners?
Yes! We classify all our hikes both as to length and difficulty. Click on "Hike Classification" on the menu panel at the left to see brief descriptions of the various levels of difficulty. Our hikes vary in length from about 5 to 10 miles, or even longer in some cases. If you're concerned about your ability, you might start with a 5-mile Class 1 hike.
What if I come on a hike and find myself lagging behind the others?
We're not speed demons, but we also don't leave people behind to fend for themselves! Every hike has not only a leader but also a "sweep," someone familiar with the route whose job is to stay at the back of the pack and make sure that no one wanders off the route or ends up alone. On most hikes, particularly the longer ones, we stop from time to time to rest and allow those at the rear to catch up.
What should I bring on a hike?
This varies depending on the starting time, length and difficulty of the hike. Typically, our hikers wear hiking boots or good sturdy shoes with some ankle support, and they carry water and lunch in a small backpack or fanny pack. Some of our hikers like to use hiking sticks, which can be purchased at outdoor stores like REI or L. L. Bean, but a small tree branch can work just as well. Some hikers bring a little toilet paper. But good boots or shoes, and water, are the most important items.
What if it rains?
In general, if rain, particularly heavy rain, is predicted for the day of the hike, the leader will cancel the hike. Of course, it can rain unexpectedly after a hike has started, so if the weather looks doubtful, it's helpful to bring along a poncho or rain shell and hat.
I notice that many hike descriptions ask you to register in advance with the leader. Why is that?
There are several reasons. If a hike has to be cancelled at the last minute because of bad weather, illness, or for some other reason, registering for the hike tells the leader whom he has to notify about the change in plans. If you haven't registered, and the hike is cancelled, you might show up at the starting point and find yourself alone! In addition, some hikes are "one-way," as opposed to loop hikes which return to the starting point. On one-way hikes, car shuttles have to be arranged, and knowing how many people are coming is important.
I think I'd like to lead a hike. What should I know?
Great! We're always looking for willing leaders. The first thing you need to know is the hike route you plan to take, the date and time you choose for your hike, and accurate driving directions for getting to the starting point. Next, contact our Hike Program coordinator. You'll find his or her contact information under "Who's Who in the PTC" on the menu panel at the left. The coordinator can tell you whether the date you want is available and suggest some other dates if it is not. He's the person to whom you send your hike description once you've got it finalized. Look at some of the descriptions in the current Bulletin to get an idea of how to write yours. In general, hike descriptions should be in the coordinator's hands about a month before the Bulletin is published. So, to appear in the January/February Bulletin, your description should be sent to the coordinator in early December.
Things to keep in mind when preparing to lead a hike, and when actually leading it, are covered in much more detail in our "Hike Leader's Guide," found on the menu panel at the left. But don't be scared away by all the suggestions. Most of them are just common sense. If you can hike, you can lead.