Hey there banjo..Ive been to Dan Nicholas and walked around the trail they have. Its actually a really nice trail.That was where I tested out the hiking boots I bought. Any suggestions you can throw my way would be great.I really dont have any experience to speak and the only gear I have is my boots a 70oz camelback bladder and a high sierra backpack that my work gave me. Its not so much of a hiking backpack but it was free and its working for what I have done so far. I went to a store and tried on some real backpacks and ther was a huge difference in the way it fits. That will be my next purchase so now I am trying to figure out the size I need for the day hikes and maybe up to a couple of days.But any suggestions on trails or any advice would be good.