Top tips for your next hiking adventure
Are you planning a hiking trip and not sure where to start? Whether you’re new to trail finding or want to up your game and impress your friends with your hiking knowledge, this guide has our top tips to make the most out of your next hiking adventure. From finding clues in nature to survival essentials in an emergency, we’ve got you covered. Hiking is becoming more popular all across America, and it’s important to remember to respect nature.
It might be tempting to go full steam ahead and throw yourself into the most difficult route, but it’s important not to wear yourself out and gradually build yourself up to longer hikes. You could try finding thirty-minute hiking routes and go from there, slowly increasing the distance over time until doing a two-hour-long route is effortless. During your hiking adventure, you can learn and read some books to earn your certification online.
Find a friend
Tell someone where you will be, or find a loved one to go with you. Be sure to cover all grounds and have someone check that you got back safe before sunset. No one wants a repeat of 127 hours, so remember to slow down and take it all in. part of the appeal is that there is no rush when hiking, and you can go as fast or slow as you want. Be sure to make it home safely and tell someone where to look for you if needed.
Layers are your friend and with many routes that climb tall hills, you might gradually feel the cold more. It’s important to wear a couple of comfortable layers when hiking to maintain body temperature. You might start to feel warm as the blood starts pumping, so being able to easily remove layers when needed is a must. A decent, hard-wearing pair of boots are essential to any closet and need to keep your feet in the correct position while providing comfort. Alternatively, you could wear your favorite sneakers if it’s a dry day.
Make sure your backpack is full of hiking essentials, and try to keep it put together at home, so you can grab it on the go. You can always have a little fun with it and ensure you always have your favorite snacks or get a special sweater just for hiking. Obvious essentials include a map for your local area and compass, more water than you think you need including an emergency bottle, an extra layer of clothing, snacks- again, more than you think you need in case of emergency. Be sure to pack high-energy bars and carbohydrates to keep you fuelled. Sun protection is also vital, be sure to bring sunscreen and sunglasses or a hat. Emergency items are also crucial to pack, such as a torch, a small first aid kit with spare medication, emergency shelter like a tarp or small tent, and waterproof matches. Some of these are unlikely that you will need, but it’s better to cover all grounds before setting off. So many people lose track of the trail and become stranded at sunset. Being prepared is never a bad thing.
Look up local routes, how long they will take, whether the incline is steep or gradual, available parking, and most importantly check the weather! Nobody likes a rainy hike, so prepare and choose a mild day when you can walk several miles without overheating. It might also be worth researching plant and animal species native to the area you plan on hiking in. be sure to keep an eye out for rare insects and unique rocks.
Look out for stacked rocks
If you find a triangle-shaped formation made out of rocks when hiking, it could be a sign that you are on the right track. If you are a regular hiker you are probably familiar with stacked cairns as trail markers but for those who don’t know, substantial structures made of rocks can often be found spaced along a trail where trees are sparse. Not to be confused with stacked rocks left by other hikers or walkers, cairns are usually found in dryer regions and left as trail markers. The meaning of stacked rocks can be found here.
Respect nature and clean up after yourself, especially if you have a picnic. If you’re new to the hiking game, you might not realize how many people are inconsiderate of their surroundings and don’t bring their garbage back with them. Another thing to add to the essentials list is a trash bag to make sure you leave no trace.
In summary, hiking can be a great way to connect with nature and yourself. In order to stay safe, preparation is key. Be sure to tell someone where you are going and pack essentials before heading off. It’s also crucial to research routes and look for cairns as trail markers if you are unsure.