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  • Writer's pictureTIKIMA THOMPSON

BEGINNERS GUIDE TO HIKING



As someone who loves hiking, I am eager to provide you with some valuable tips. Hiking is a fantastic low-impact workout that offers the added thrill of unpredictable variables, setting it apart from walking on a treadmill or paved path. If you want to ensure a successful first hike, here are some tips you should keep in mind:


HYDRATION

When you're enjoying the great outdoors, staying hydrated is key to having a good time, no matter the weather. Whether you're hiking or doing any other activity, having water on hand is essential. It's recommended that you drink about half a liter of water per hour in moderate temperatures, but keep in mind that the amount you need may vary depending on factors such as your age, body type, sweat rate, the intensity of your activity, and the weather conditions. So be sure to stay hydrated and keep your body happy and healthy!


NUTRITION

For novice hikers, it can be quite challenging to gauge the amount of food required for a hiking trip. However, a solid rule of thumb is to consume 200-300 calories per hour. As you continue to explore the great outdoors and gain more experience, you'll develop a better understanding of your personal caloric needs.


SHOES

Having painful feet while hiking can put a damper on the experience. However, you don't need to rush out and buy new shoes for your first hike. It's important to make sure you enjoy hiking before investing in quality gear. Once you've determined that hiking is for you, it's worth investing in good hiking shoes and socks. Don't assume that heavy leather boots are your only option - there are plenty of lightweight and comfortable "light hikers" available that require little to no break-in time. And when it comes to socks, don't skimp! Trust me, cotton socks are not the way to go. Instead, opt for wool or synthetic materials for maximum comfort and durability. Lastly, it's always a good idea to pack blister dressings just in case. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to happy and pain-free hiking adventures.


FIRST-AID

Going for a hike is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and get some exercise. However, it's crucial to take precautions and be prepared for any unexpected situations. While you don't need to be a medical professional to go hiking, it's essential to have some basic knowledge of first aid. Carrying a first-aid kit with you is always a good idea, and it's equally important to know how to use it in case of an emergency.


A well-stocked first aid kit is essential for any hiker. Here are some items that should be included in a hiking first aid kit:


  • adhesive bandages in various sizes

  • gauze pads

  • adhesive tape

  • antiseptic wipes

  • antibiotic ointment

  • pain relievers

  • tweezers

  • scissors

  • a pocket knife

  • first aid manual


It's also a good idea to include any personal medications that may be needed, such as inhalers or epinephrine injectors. With a properly stocked first aid kit, hikers can feel confident and safe while exploring the great outdoors.


As you venture farther into the wilderness, it becomes even more crucial to have some medical training. You never know when you might encounter an injury or illness that requires immediate attention. Being equipped with the knowledge and tools to handle these situations can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable hike. So, make sure to brush up on your first-aid skills and always pack a well-stocked first-aid kit before hitting the trails.


PACE YOURSELF

After finding a trail that is experience appropriate, it's essential to find a pace that you can maintain throughout the day. Although it may be tempting to power forward like a hero, you'll quickly become exhausted if you don't pace yourself. Starting with a comfortable pace may feel awkward at first, but after a few miles, especially if you're climbing uphill, you'll be grateful that you saved your energy. Remember that hiking is an experience that should be enjoyed, not rushed. Take breaks when needed, hydrate regularly, and listen to your body. By taking these steps, you'll be able to fully appreciate the beauty of the trail and make lasting memories.



KEEP TRAILS BEAUTIFUL

We must take care of the beautiful trails we love. By following the Leave No Trace Seven Principles, we can help ensure that these natural spaces remain pristine for future generations to enjoy. As outdoor enthusiasts, we all have a responsibility to do our part in preserving our environment. Let's work together to keep our trails beautiful and accessible for years to come.


I hope these tips will be valuable to you. Remember to stay hydrated and keep your body happy and healthy by drinking enough water, consuming enough calories, and investing in comfortable shoes and socks. It's also important to be prepared for any unexpected situations by carrying a well-stocked first aid kit and having some basic knowledge of first aid. Pace yourself and take breaks when needed to fully appreciate the beauty of the trail. Lastly, let's all do our part in preserving our environment by following the Leave No Trace Seven Principles and keeping our trails beautiful for future generations. Happy hiking!


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