I just got back from my elk trip to Colorado and must say that I learned quite a bit about hiking in that one trip. I researched all I could on the internet and thought I was prepared going out. For the most part I was but I want to pass on a few major things I learned that helped me drastically!
1. Pack light. I know this may sound like common sense but believe me. After reading everyone's advice on what you need to pack, chances are your pack will end up weighing more than you do until you get out there. I ended up calling it a safety anchor when I picked up my buddies pack. He asked me what I meant so I said..."well, all that gear IS keeping you safe. It's like an anchor you're carrying on your back so you can't get far enough away from camp to get in trouble in the first place"!
2. Control your breathing. It's amazing how this can help you walk further and feel better when you arrive. From the time I leave the truck until I get back I take full breaths timed in sych with my walking. For me it works best to take one deep breath in over two steps and exhale one full breath over the next two steps. Once I get in this rythm I can keep my blood oxygenated and walk much further than if I just pant randomly like I used to do.
3. Carry a walking/shooting stick. I never carried one prior to my colorado hunt as I never had much need to. Believe me, it saved my hide many times while out there. Not only did it provide a steady rest to shoot from but it also saved my gun. On more than one occassion I would have hit the dirt and more than likely banged my rifle had I not had the stick to catch me. When you're that far back in with only one rifle in your hand, anything that can protect you and it is definitely worth having.