Hiking should be easy, and it is. But like with every nature walk, you are going into nature. If you are just starting to explore what hiking is all about, consider these tips before you hit the trail.
Your body needs hydration. In fact, you should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day. Most people would exert energy and will likely sweat on a hike. It’s important to replace that water as necessary, so bring along a bottle of water or hydration pack.
Some of these things might be a given to the average hiker, but some people haven’t really tried to venture out. With that said, wearing a sturdy shoe can really make the difference between a good or bad hiking experience. You don’t need to buy the top-of-the-line hiking boot, but you do want something that is comfortable, stays on your foot, and has a grip. You can end up with blisters, or slipping on less than level terrain if you don’t have the proper shoes and that’s not fun for anyone.
Whether you plan to go hiking in a desert or a wooded forest, it’s a good idea to know the plants in your area. For example, if you don’t know a thing about poison oak, you won’t avoid touching it which can lead to itchy problems later. A prickly cactus might seem obvious, but other flora will not be. This also goes for eating. Do not eat plants or berries. Unless it’s an obvious blackberry bush, keep yourself safe and avoid a nature meal.
If you do plan to be out for a long hike, make sure you have enough supplies. Snacks can help keep you nourished. After exertion, you need to replenish your glycogen stores. A lack of food after a hard hike can cause dizziness which is not a good thing in the middle of nowhere.
If you are unfamiliar with your hike destination, please look into the local wildlife. Even in the hills of Los Angeles, you can run into Mountain Lions, so it’s important to be aware of how to keep yourself safe. Your best course of action, whether it’s a snake or a deer, is to keep your distance and avoid it if possible. Remember, you are entering their territory and they were there first. Please respect that and everyone should be fine.
Ticks and mosquitoes can harbor some nasty diseases. Depending on where you’re hiking, protect yourself with a tick and mosquito repellent. Make sure you do a tick check after your hike to ensure that none of them have latched on.
Make sure you are wearing clothing that breathes and also moves with you. Some clothing can chafe with hiking and that is never a comfortable experience, there are clothes that will prevent that. If it’s sunny, consider a hat and other coverings that will keep you from getting sunburned. If it’s a colder environment make sure you layer and keep warm.
Hiking can be a wonderful and exciting experience, but if you’ve never done it before, you should really make sure you have the proper knowledge and equipment. After your first hike, you may get the hiking bug and you’ll be itching to get out as soon as possible! Enjoy the world and see what nature has to offer.
Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash