A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking
Hiking is a fantastic way to get in touch with nature. You can explore the beauties of nature at your own pace, transported only by your own two feet and carrying only what you need for the day on your back. It's also an activity that practically everyone can accomplish with a bit of planning and preparation.
If you've always wanted to go hiking but have yet to do so, now is the moment. Follow the steps below:
- Find a trekking companion.
- Pick a trek.
- Prepare yourself.
If you have hiking friends, invite them to join you on a hike. Most individuals are eager to offer their knowledge, lend you equipment, and show you around their favorite routes.
Hiking alone can provide you with a sense of independence and adventure that you won't find anywhere else. It may, however, be daunting and isolating at times. We recommend finding a hiking companion if you're new to the sport. That individual will also be available to assist you if you become injured. If traveling alone is your only choice, start with short outings to popular hiking spots and make sure someone knows where you're going and how long you'll be gone.
There are various simple ways to locate a hiking trail that meets your requirements:
- Guidebooks and websites are excellent sources of information since they provide all of the necessary statistics, such as route difficulty, distance, elevation gain, directions, water sources, trail features, and if dogs are permitted. Recent trip reports are frequently displayed on websites, which might give you an idea of current trail conditions.
- Word of mouth: If you have hiking-loving friends, ask them to recommend some places for you to visit.
- Contact a local hiking association or a ranger station in the area where you intend to trek to learn more about the site. Rangers are usually well-informed about trail conditions and are adept at recommending hikes for people of all abilities.
Choosing a Hiking Route: Some Pointers
It's a good idea to consider a few things before beginning your search for the ideal hike, such as:
- How much time do you have: a few hours or an entire day? Where you go depends on how much time you have. Remember to account for the time it takes to get to and from the trailhead.
- Your current level of fitness: Determine your current state of wellness. You'd rather have a good time out there than struggle through a long, strenuous hike for which you are unprepared. Don't be discouraged if you're not in the best shape of your life: there are hikes for everyone.
- Consider how many miles and hours of hiking you're comfortable with. The average walking speed is roughly three mph, but depending on the terrain, elevation gain, and how much weight you're carrying on your back, your hiking pace may be slower.
- Elevation increase: One aspect that impacts the difficulty of a hike is the amount of elevation gain. You'll learn how much elevation rise you can manage comfortably and how much is too much with some practice. A trail that adds 1,000 feet in one mile is considered relatively steep to give you a sense of scale. A common rule of thumb is to add one hour to your journey for every 1,000 feet of elevation rise.