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Do you want to try Hiking but don’t know where to start?
This guide can help you prepare for your first hike wherever you are headed, ensuring you are safe and comfortable in 11 basic tips.
The great thing about hiking is you get to pick your speed and difficulty for the perfect amount of challenge that suits you.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
As this is a beginner’s guide to hiking, we’re not looking to hike the Appalachian Trail – but rather trails that can be done in less than a day, that won’t require you to pack a tent, or bring extra change of clothes. Pick a hike based on how much time you have – do you have the entire Sunday? Or do you just have a few hours on a Tuesday afternoon?
Solo hikes may have its advantages (mobile meditation anyone?), however it is also more dangerous should anything happen while you’re out on the trail. It would be recommended buddying up with a friend or your significant other particularly for your first hike – it’s a great bonding opportunity!
If you are a complete newbie, sending yourself out on an eight hour hike through the unmapped wilderness is highly not recommended. Start slow, and pick places you’re familiar with that will allow you to stop when necessary and get back to your car or home quickly.
If you don’t have a place in mind, hop on Google to find the closest national park, or ask your friends/co-workers if
they know of any good spots. Do some research as you’d be surprised how many places are out there ready for you to explore!
Now, a lot of this will depend on how long your planned hike is and what sort of weather/obstacles/adventures you’re bound to get yourself into on the hike. Here are just some of the recommended essentials:
How much you need to bring will depend greatly on your type of trip, but you want to make sure you are adequately prepared for your adventure.
Hiking to the top of a mountain, the high point in a town, or the roof of a building gives you a great halfway point to stop, eat some lunch or dinner, and enjoy the view. Another bonus of going up is you already know exactly how far you need to go on your way down. One piece of advice on going down a steep mountain or a lot of steps: shorten your stride. Also take care to land on the balls of your feet with a bent knee if possible – if you’re landing on your heels for thousands of steps, it can wreak havoc on your knees and joints as there’s no shock absorption.
Now, you might be interested in listening to the sounds of nature while you hike. However if you are in a familiar area, and you feel comfortable putting on music, make an epic hiking soundtrack. Your workout playlist can come in handy to push you up the difficult parts.
If you’re in a heavily wooded area and carving through the wilderness, check yourself for ticks. Also make sure you take a shower with hot water and soap immediately when you get home in case you came in contact with any poisonous plants or other related nasties.
Pack it in, pack it out. In the wilderness, no one cleans up after you. If you bring anything with you, ensure it comes back with you – remember the saying “take only pictures, leave only footprints”!
Hopefully this article has ignited your excitement to go hiking and explore the wonderful world around us!