One of the things that I want to work on right now is to live healthier by making certain lifestyle choices. Now, I had been looking for ways to become more fit. I have learned the hard way that health is really wealth. Six emergency room trips from February to June showed me that I really need to make those changes if I want to make the most out of life.
Fortunately, I have been emailed by a very fit blogger who proposed to write this guest post containing hiking tips. I hope you find this online written gift from Nicole as useful as I did. 🙂
So you want to try hiking. I am assuming you are newbie, a first-timer, or maybe you’ve tried hiking before — and failed. Chances are, there are a few things you might have missed on your first try. This article will present tried-and-tested hiking tipsyou should and must pack along with you on your adventure.
1. Check yourself. Be honest. Just because you are lean doesn’t mean you are already fit to hike. Hiking is not your usual running and walking like how you do in your park or village or for fun with friends in Bonifacio High Street. Hiking means you have to deal with different kinds of terrain, meet some strange creature you didn’t know existed, and some other unworldly sense of fun and adventure you have to prepare yourself for. Can you endure long walks and slippery stones? Are you composed in times of emergency or are you easily rattled? It pays to check yourself and be honest with yourself about how you do in certain situations. Consider this as your starting point.
2. Research about your destination. Research about the area you are hoping to explore. Know about the terrain and thehike. Check out online forums about the destination and ask around about the best season to hike, the activities you should not miss, and the possible dangers you should prepare for. You always have to keep in mind that whenever there is an interaction with nature, there will always be the possibility of injury. Check out the plants and animals that should be avoided.
3. Be able to differentiate real life from fiction. Never go out hiking alone. Planning to channel you inner- Bella Swan? Trying to prove yourself to your parents that you can do things on your own? Are you going to imitate Harry and Ron’s journey into the Forbidden Forest and in the hopes of finding unicorns? If at your present age, you are unable to identify fact from fiction, then you might want to postpone your adventure. Damsels like Bella may exist in the real world but immortals like Edward Cullen do not, although beasts like Victoria are out in the wild. If you are thinking of proving to your parents that you can take care of yourself alone out there, then you might want to try your luck some place else. This ain’t a place for faint-hearted. Apart from checking yourself whether you are fit to hike, maybe you should also check whether your purpose to hikeis also proper. You don’t want to be reprimanded in the hospital while a hoard of nurses are fixing your bones and listening to your mother’s litany.
Never under any circumstance, hike alone. Be sure that at least one person on the planet knows where exactly you are going, how long you will be away, and have at least a contact number of a companion.
4. Choose your company well. Most groups are formed through online forums where hikers and amateurs get to interact, sharing tips and techniques, and finding groups that they could most likely enjoy the same type and pace in hiking. Some groups are formed through friendships who wish to explore other things together. If you are going along a group diverse wants, you have to learn to be sensitive with other people’s needs in order to avoid getting annoyed or annoying someone. Place the slowest hiker in the front and let him/her lead the pace.
5. Backpacking. Sure the water in the lake looks clear and fresh but don’t be deceived. Just because it is clear doesn’t mean it’s clean. Bring your own water. Some people prefer hydration bars because they are easier to pack and lighter on the load. Choose whatever is comfortable with you. Keep food in tightly sealed containers because even small creatures can smell what’s in your bag. You don’t want them to get ahead of you for lunch, right? Be sure to bring a fire source. Being able to light a fire brings comfort to everyone. Everybody gets to eat warm meal and sleep cozily. Bring multi-toolgadgets and duct tape for emergency.
Be careful what you pack. You’re not going on a picnic, are you? Skip the iPod, DVD player, and extra rubber shoes. The lighter the load, the better. Just make sure you have everything you need — only the things you need.
6. Start small. An amateur runner shouldn’t run 25 KM on his first try and neither should you. Consider your first hiking trip as a short excursion and from there see if you enjoy it. If you do, aim to try a longer route next time.
7. Wear proper clothing and footwear. Check the temperature and weather of your destination. It is better to be a little cool than be too hot. Layering is key so it would be easier for you to remove some articles of clothing when it gets hot. Pack a light jacket with you even if it’s hot out there or if there is no chance of raining. When cotton clothes are wet, they stay that way so choose to leave it at home. Wear comfortable rubber shoes or hiking boots that can provide ample support to your feet and ankles. And no, you can’t wear your flipflops.
8. Common Sense. Common sense is the most basic thing you have to bring with you on your trip, along with presence of mind. You have to be able to handle difficult situations well especial when one gets injured. Sometimes, getting excited over something overshadows a person’s judgment. You are going to get there soon, so in order to enjoy your trip, always be cautious and be mindful of everything you are going to do. You will never be penalized for thinking before acting.
Hiking is a great and fun adventure that not all people are privileged to experience. So if you are planning to do anytime soon, then consider yourself lucky. Just remember the golden rule on hiking: Leave it as you found it. Hikers are more likely to be nature lovers, and if you are a nature lover, you will help in the preservation of the environment. Share this privilege to other people who will want to visit the place, too. And remember, just like life, it is the journey that matters, and not just the destination.
Nicole So is a freelance writer, regular runner and a former backpacker. Her hobbies are writing, photography and traveling. She also writes for other blogs and for some clients. Follow her escapades in google+.