Hiking For Beginners
Hiking for novices can be daunting, but there is really nothing for beginners to be afraid of. You do not have to have any unique talents or techniques to hike – all you have to do is to keep moving and always understand your position and the environment. It is one of the best ways to get closer to nature, sweat it out and rejuvenate for the coming week. In this article, we will be giving you some essential tips on hiking for novices so that your first hiking experience is enjoyable and safe.
Do not leave any carbon footprint behind
Regardless of what happens during hiking, always appreciate nature and other like-minded individuals on the trail. Hence, here a few matters you should take note of:
- Dispose of your rubbish properly
- Keep to the main trail and do not wander off track
- Conserve the surroundings as much as you can. For example, do not intentionally destroy branches of trees.
- Respect other hikers on the trail. For example, do not make loud noises or blast music.
If all hikers take care of the hiking environment and support politicians who are for nature conservation, it would equate to greater spending on parks and trails, hence, more hiking trail choices for hiking enthusiasts like us. If we litter irresponsibly with our food wrappers and plastic bottles, paths will cease to exist.
Choose an appropriate trail for novices
Do not overexert yourself as a first-timer. You should not go on a trail that would take almost half a day to complete or a trail that requires hikers to ascend frequently. If this is your first time, you should go on a hike that is under five miles with little ascending. If you want to challenge a lengthier course, do train and prepare yourself mentally and physically for it prior to the hike.
A route with more climbs would definitely be more strenuous on one’s body as compared to a flat route. You should read up on mountain hiking if you are embarking on climbs on hills or mountains.
You can always begin by researching online on trails suitable for novices. Do get yourself acquainted with the trail before you start. Study the trail guide and understand the general route and the estimated total duration of the hike.
Buy the right equipment for your first hike
You will only need items you can gather from your house. Firstly, for the attire, do not choose jeans or normal shirts that get weighty after getting damp. You can consider a workout attire with pants or tights to the ankle so as to protect your legs from occasional scratches from branches during the hike. A long-sleeved shirt would protect you too, and you can push up the sleeves if it gets warm.
Secondly, choose a sturdy pair of sneakers or runners. If you have actually kept your old pair of hiking boots for quite some time, we strongly discourage you to wear them as they could cause painful blisters.
Lastly, get a light bag and fit your water bottle, food, and additional clothes. Always get ready for the unexpected – there could be sudden downpours or for drastic drop or rise in temperature.
Know how to read a map
You must be able to maneuver the map and know where you are at any point in time. Do get a physical copy of the trail guide and the map. In case of a downpour, place them in plastic bags.
Research in advance and hike when it is the best time to do so
We strongly encourage you to begin your hike as soon as day breaks. There is a higher chance for more individuals to hike later in the day. However, if you are afraid to have a one-man hike and would love some company, you can plan to end the trail later in the day. However, be warned that you might find it more difficult to find a parking lot.
Do a quick check before you leave for the hike
You must be authorized to enter some trails. If you are in doubt, give a quick call to the relevant branch. Another thing that many beginners forget – check the forecast before leaving for the hike. If it is not going to be sunny for most of the parts, you should consider postponing your hike. Additionally, you can also call the park office to ask if all paths will be accessible by the public.
Inform close friends or family that you will be hiking
This could potentially help you escape death should any accidents happen. Minimally, let another person know which park you will be at and when your hike is going to be. A mere text message can boost your rate of survival manifold.
Do not treat hiking as a competition
Safety should always be prioritized over speed in hiking. Just like the tortoise and hare tale, it is better to go slowly and steadily, particularly if you are going on a long trail. If energy is properly used, it can help you get out of sticky situations such as getting lost.
Be careful of what you are stepping on
Although this is apparent, the highest proportion of mishaps are due to an injured ankle. The worst, but the most common danger that many hikers face is misstepping. Be especially careful of where you are taking your next step, particularly if you are talking, in a state of exhaustion, or listening to music.
Understand more about the hiking mannerisms for novices
Take note of the following etiquette rules for hikers:
- If you meet a hiker making an ascent, you have to let him or her go first. If you are on a flat trail, be polite and keep to the sides of the pavements.
- If you are hiking in a group, keep your group’s volume level low. This is to ensure you do not disturb other hikers on their way.
- If you want to play music, you should wear headphones or an earpiece and enjoy the music yourself. Refrain from blasting music out loud.
Have an enjoyable hike
Hence, with all these tips in your bag, enjoy your first hike! Do keep in mind the advice we have shared with you in this article even during your hike. If you stick to this hiking guide, your hike will most likely be enjoyable and safe.