Hiking can really be a wonderful way in which you can get out and truly enjoy what nature has to offer you. If you really have never been on a true hike it’s something that you should consider doing. If the word hiking scares you off just realize that if you can walk, you can hike. Honest. What hiking is, is simply going for a walk but instead of walking in the city or in a mall you do it in the wilderness. When it comes to hiking it isn’t much different from plain old walking except that the surfaces you’ll be walking on are more than likely going to be more uneven than what you will find at your local city park. Plus, if you are really going out some place out there, you need to be more prepared than you need to be when going on a walk.
Here are a few things you should know before you go hiking if you are a newbie at this kind of activity. The first thing I suggest for those who truly have never been on a real hike, is this; start taking walks in parks. This is a great way to get started. It’s a good idea if you try to find parks that have some walking paths that are not paved and that have some open areas where you can walk also. To be honest with you, you may discover that walking on unpaved surfaces actually is more pleasant than when you walk on concrete. Those hard surfaces in the city can give you blisters a lot faster than the softer surfaces of an unpaved path.
There are some very important differences between taking a walk in the city and hiking somewhere out of town. One is that you really need to be a lot more aware of the circumstances around you in the wilderness so you can take care of your body. Remember, when you are out hiking usually you are not going to find a car, bus, store or any other kind of shelter to take cover in if you get too hot, cold, tired, or hungry. Also, depending upon where you go, you may not see any other people around either. This is why it’s important to start off with short hikes in case you misjudge something about the hike, with a short hike you can quickly get back to shelter for warmth, food and water.
Be smart about hiking, make sure that you go hiking during the year when the weather is going to be the nicest. Hiking means you are going to be outside the whole time and you don’t want to get caught in some awful weather. Of course it does depend upon where you live. For instance if you live in a desert area then you may want to go hiking in the spring or fall when temperatures are for more tolerable. By picking “friendly” weather you are going to have a much better experience hiking.
If it truly is your first time hiking I really don’t recommend that you go alone. It’s a better idea to ask someone to go with you and it’s even better if those you invite already have experience at it and they already know what can be expected and can help you out if something comes up that you don’t know how to handle. If you can’t find anyone who wants to go with you then consider checking to see if you city has any local hiking clubs that you might be able to join.
This is very important, your footwear! One of the biggest mistakes that newbies commit is wearing the wrong kind of shoes. You need to pick shoes that are designed to make your feet feel comfortable when you are walking and not shoes that just make your feet look good. Another really big mistake that newbies to hiking commit is buy a brand new pair of shoes and wear them on a hike before they have been broken in. You need to let your feet get use to the new shoes so you should try to break them in by wearing them around the house for awhile and for short walks in a park. This way when you go hiking for the first time your feet will be used to the shoes.
Another thing that is really important when you go hiking is the clothes that you wear. Your feet are not the only things that need comfort on a hike but your whole body. This means that it is best to wear loose fitting clothing and not something that is super tight. Your clothes also have to be appropriate for the weather. So make sure you know what the weather is predicted to be like before you set off on your hike.
When you go hiking as a newbie always make sure that you find areas that have designated walking trails so that you can follow that same trail back to where you started, the last thing you want on one of your first hikes is to get lost. Whatever you do, never stray off the path.
If you think that your hike is going to be a couple of hours or longer it’s a good idea to take a few things with you such as a lighter or matches, a knife, a simple first aid kit, anti-itch cream and sunscreen, a flashlight and even a little toilet paper, you never know.
You also need to make sure that you take water or a sports drink with you because you will be losing a lot of fluid when you go for a hike and you need to replenish what you lost in order to avoid dehydration or a heat stroke because both can kill you.
Most importantly, use your God given common sense and don’t tempt fate. No matter how beautiful Mother Nature is, she is very indifferent to hurting you, especially if you do stupid things.