One way to get great exercise and the enjoyment of the surrounding nature is to go hiking. Hiking on a groomed trail is safe, exhilarating, and fun. Hiking with a partner is highly recommended for safety purposes besides being smart, safe, and gratifying.
However, hiking as a newcomer can be anxiety producing as well as unsafe. There are certain aspects of hiking one should know prior to hitting the trail.
There are specific should’s and should not’s when it comes to hiking. One aspect is to always let someone know where you are going, i.e., which trial, park, or area of hiking you plan to tread. Always hike with at least one other person. Always carry a backpack with extra supplies. Always realize conditions in which you start do not mean the condition up on the trail. Check the weather prior to leaving to be aware if any storm fronts are coming in. It is not uncommon for the weather to be rainy, stormy, or snowy up in the higher elevations. Just because it is sunny conditions doesn’t necessarily guarantee the same weather where you plan to hike. The weather is very unpredictable.
Another aspect of hiking is to pack a good back pack. Things to include are water, extra food, extra clothing, a map and a compass, a flashlight, matches, candle or some fire starter, batteries, a small knife, first aid kit, sunglasses, mirror, and a whistle, raingear, and if appropriate, a map. Also check to see if you need a special permit or pass to obtain for where you plan to blaze the trail. Certain parks have different rules at various periods during the year.
A handy piece of advice is to search out trails that you are interested in. There are many generic, as well as local hiking guide books that give you great info as to the location, distance, and intensity of a specific hike. An example is easy, moderate, and difficult level of intensity. Do not over estimate your capacity with a higher level of confidence of your skill.
Please also pace yourself; as to be successful, you have to make it back from whence you started a specific distance. Realize your energy can be less than expected especially if the weather has changed, or if your hike has been harder than expected.
A useful piece of information is to layer your clothes. That is, wear easy, cotton, breathable fabrics on top of another as to enhance the warmth or defray it. It depends on the season and the weather as to the amount of layers. Layers such as fleeces, sweaters, vests, long underwear, nylon pants, wool socks, dry shoes, and ear coverage/muffs are vital to a successful trip when the weather is variable.
Hiking can be a lifelong sport, a new hobby or a stage one goes through. Remember, safety first. Educate yourself on the trails you are capable of. Exercise with a partner. There are many clubs and organizations, local and national that promote walking and fitness. By looking on-line, one can find much information on area hikes, predatory skills, and essentials as to specific hikes.
One way to increase your success of hiking is to prepare by being aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledgement of one’s level of skill can mean a modified schedule of the planned hike.
Hiking can be so enjoyable. Please be educated and prepare for the type of hike you are about to engage in. If you have questions, seek your medical professional. Remember, don’t hesitate, and participate.