Learning To Hike – Ten Top Tips
1. Bring a mobile phone in case of emergency. If you are in any danger and you find yourself in a situation where you require immediate help, a mobile phone may be your only hope.
2. Use a well marked trail with good quality tracks or paths. Consult an up to date map to double check the route you intend to take: this will be essential if you accidentally get lost or need to alter your route due to inclement weather.
3. Take the appropriate footwear and clothing. Running shoes and trainers will wear quickly and are not suitable for braving steep mountains and rocky terrain. Proper walking boots are essential for longer hikes and appropriate clothing is also important, taking into account the temperature and the weather conditions.
4. Consider becoming a member of a local hiking club or organisation there you could join with more experienced hikers. They can offer valuable advice and insight into popular routes and those to avoid. This will also be a good opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.
5. Take note of the weather forecast and be prepared for sharp drops in temperature when hiking up high mountains on dry, sunny days. Wind speeds will generally be gale force on high ground during unsettled weather so it is essential to properly plan your hiking trips and to consider postponing if the weather forecast is poor. Be extra careful in wintry weather when icy paths and rocks can be especially hazardous.
6. You must be in a good physical condition to take on long and challenging hikes, especially those involving a significant degree of climbing and steep trails. Do not do not overwork yourself and take a long rest whenever you need to – hiking needn’t be a race! If you plan on hiking regularly, be sure to take rest days so that your body can fully recover from a long day of exercising.
7. Take plenty of water, regardless as to the time of year. Even in low temperatures the body can dehydrate after prolonged exercise. Also ensure you have plenty of sandwiches or pre-cooked meals stored in a lunch box – you will be burning hundreds of calories and will need the energy.
8. Do not overload yourself with baggage – only bring essentials. A heavy backpack will cause back and shoulder pain, which will slow you down. When travelling as a group, make sure that each person carries a fairly equal amount in line with their size.
9. Bring a well-stocked first aid kit which must have sufficient medical supplies for all members of the group. Even on smaller hiking trails, a first aid kit will prove invaluable when the nearest hospital is several hours away.
10. Hike in areas with which you are familiar in order to gain experience. You can subsequently venture into the unknown, having first had some experience of long-distance hiking. If you are heading to a foreign country, get to know the language – this will be essential in an emergency. It is also another reason to travel in groups, with the objective of ensuring that at least one member of the party has a workable grasp of the local language.
Article by Simply Hike