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I'm planning a hike for memorial day weekend. This is one of my first hiking trips and I'm looking for a good trail. We are planning for two nights, three days, Friday-Sunday. Does anyone have any trails to suggest? We were thinking Olympic NP, or Mt Adams area or up to the North Cascades. Also, how many miles would a few novice hikers be able to cover in a day? Any other suggestions about gear would be nice as well.
Memorial Day weekend is still early in the season for the high country. You'll most likely wanna stay below 5000 feet, but this year could be lower. I'm assuming since you haven't hiked much, you want to avoid snow, washed out trails, down trees, and cold weather. This year has had record snow fall in many areas and a mild spring so far. I haven't done much in the olympics, but I know there are some river trails that stay pretty low. I have done the olympic coast. This might be just the spot for you. The trail is an easy walk with very little elevation change. There are some scrambles and rock hoping, so a light pack would be ideal. Also, you will need a tide chart, because some areas are difficult if not inpassable during high tide. You can also keep in mind that east of the cascades generaly gets less snowfall; therefore, trails open earlier. Badger Creek Wilderness, east of Mt. Hood, could be an option. Do your research. Call the ranger station nearest to your trail(even though they seem to exagerate conditions), it's better to be safe if you are a beginner. The average hiker walks about 2 miles an hour, so plan around that. Consider how much time you want at camp, daylight, ideal destinations, and what kind of shape you are in. It seems like the biggest mistake begining hikers make is way over packing or under packing. Check the weather conditions and plan on them being worse in the mountains. ALWAYS make sure you have the essential survival gear! If you don't know them, learn them! You don't really need all the bells and wistles, but they are nice. You should be able to find some general backpacking checklist. That would be good for this site.