So you’re ready to feel the crunch of leaves under your feet and immerse yourself in the wilderness. Luckily, it’s easier to start hiking than you may think.
Stepping over tree roots and maneuvering around rocks on a trail can be more tiring than you might imagine. Start out small and with time you can gradually build up to longer treks. If you think you may want to get serious about hiking you might want to start practicing with a pack of some sort. You’ll need a pack if you want to go on longer hikes, and after hiking for awhile that pack can get pretty heavy.
Prepare for the worst.
You never know what can happen, so it’s always a good idea to bring things you may need. Hopefully, you won’t need to use any of the stuff you bring, but it never hurts to be prepared. It’s recommended you always carrying extra water, snacks, bug spray, sunscreen, and a small first aid kit.
Overestimate your trail time.
Hiking can be slow when you first start, so always add more time to your estimated hike time. A tip for estimating time is to expect to cover 2 miles an hour, and then add an hour for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Remember it’s always harder to walk up hill then it is to walk down.
You don’t have to to be in the mountains.
You don’t have to live in the forests of Washington or the desert plains of Nevada to enjoy some quality time with nature. All states have parks that can make it easier to get started hiking. Even cities, like New York City or Washington D.C., have nature spaces great for shorter hikes.
Use the buddy system
Never go hiking alone. There are so many stories that deal with people going hiking and getting lost for days or even in severe cases, dying. Having two brains is always better than one. It’s also important that you tell someone where you’re going before you leave. You never what will happen, but it’s always important to be safe.