Passport: Make sure you have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the end-date of the trip.
Physical Preparation for HIKING Trips
Exercise and physical conditioning is crucial. We will usually hike 5 to 10 miles a day, and much of that up hills or mountains, at a fairly significant pace, and in constant direct sunlight of up to 115 degrees. The more you are prepared, the more you will be able to benefit. If you are physically exhausted you won’t have the mental alertness needed to absorb the spiritual and intellectual components of the trip. Furthermore, how much we can do each day, is to a large extent, determined by how efficiently the group moves together. If we can keep up the pace during our hikes, we can do more things during the day. If you have any hills where you live, you need to start hiking up them, several miles a day, in your hiking boots, carrying 2 quarts of water in a day pack. GTI will provide you with a nice Camelbak-style day pack, but that won’t come until shortly before the trip, so you’ll need to find another way to add weight as you condition yourself. Hike up the hills, walking at a fast pace, without stopping more than once every 30 minutes. Aim at improving your stamina. If you don’t have hills, climb up stairs instead, without using the handrails. Supplement this with other exercises such as squats and thrusts to build the upper and lower leg muscles you will need for hiking and climbing steep slopes.
On a treadmill, set it on maximum incline, and walk in your hiking boots with a backpack with 3 quarts of water in it at 3 mph for 30 minutes without resting. If you can’t do this, OR if you are really exhausted after doing it, then the hiking trip is not for you!
Physical Preparation for WALKING Trips
Although “Walking Trips” are less strenuous than “Hiking Trips”, exercise and physical conditioning is still extremely important. We will usually walk 3 to 4 miles a day, and some of that will be “off-trail”, uphill on rocky and steep terrain. You should invest in good hiking boots with a super-stiff sole for walking on sharp rocks. Temperatures usually vary from 85-95 degrees but can be as hot as 115 degrees or more, with limited shade. The pace is of the walking trip is slower than that of the hiking trips, and the days are a bit shorter, however, all participants should be prepared for a physically challenging experience. Often our greatest spiritual lessons come as a result of our experiencing physical challenges. If you have any hills where you live, you need to start walking up them, several miles a day, in your hiking boots, carrying 2 quarts of water in a day pack or fanny pack. GTI will provide you with a nice Camelbak-style day pack, but that won’t come until shortly before the trip, so you’ll need to find another way to add weight as you condition yourself. Walking at a fast pace, without stopping more than once every 30 minutes. Aim at improving your stamina. If you don’t have hills, walk up and down stairs instead, without using the handrails. If you have a treadmill, set it on maximum incline, and walk in your hiking boots with your water and pack at about 2 mph for 15 minutes at a time without resting. Supplement this with squats and other exercises to strengthen your leg muscles for the many steep steps you will be walking.
Spiritual Preparation for ALL Trips
- Start praying now! Begin today, praying daily that God would be preparing your heart for what He wants to show you. And if you would, please pray for me too, that God would be shaping His thoughts and lessons within me, and that I would be effective in communicating His Word to you.
- Ask others to pray. I encourage you to find five people who will commit to pray specifically for you, not only as you prepare for the trip, but also for each day that you are on the trip. Not only will this be a blessing for you, but as you report back to these people, I believe God will also use your trip in their lives as well.
- Read Scripture. As much as possible, immerse yourself in the Text. Just read it. And keep reading it. Focus on the big picture, rather than getting bogged down in the details. In the New Testament, read through each of the Gospels. In the Old Testament, read Genesis, Deuteronomy, and I & II Samuel to start with. If you have more time, read I & II Kings, Joshua, and Judges.