While hiking may initially seem like a simple activity to get outside and enjoy, there are actually a number of considerations to make before you head out into the wild. In fact, such considerations, like equipment and awareness, are not only important for your own comfort but for your safety too.
Since there are a number of amazing benefits to hiking, not to mention the physical and mental wellness that comes along with each trail, it is worthwhile making the activity as enjoyable and effortless as possible. Here are 5 simple ways to help improve your hiking experience.
Do Not Leave The Trail
There is a tendency among novice hikers to perceive the trail as boring or, perhaps, restrictive. However, while there certainly is a remit to leave the well-trodden path in certain circumstances, these well-defined hiking routes are often laid out for a reason.
Until you have absolutely familiarity with a route and the surrounding landscape, including its dangers and, especially, its wildlife, hikers should stick to the trail for their safety and the well-being of the local ecology. Think of it not as a challenge against one’s ability but it is, instead, as advice from hiking experts. At least until proven otherwise.
Learn The Schedule
The quality of hiking routes varies from day to day and even hour to hour. What is a pleasant and solitary stroll one day can easily become an overly busy walk another. Get to know your local route, especially when it is both quietest and busiest. Some hikers, for example, may want the company of others to feel safe when on longer routes.
Master Your Packing
Hiking equipment is about balance. Ultimately, you want to pack as efficiently as possible. If your load is too light, you may find yourself without essential equipment and, if it’s too heavy, you might encumber yourself. Before you take on a longer trail, practice with smaller routes, getting yourself familiar with what items you frequently use and how much you can comfortably carry.
Items such as water and food, for example, may seem cumbersome at first but are essential to safety, especially in the circumstance of unplanned events, and will also not be as heavy on the way back.
Superior To Yourself
Pitting yourself against the ability of others is a surefire way to risk your safety. Instead of comparing your speed and distance against the accomplishment of others, compare your ability only with your former self. Pushing yourself too hard or too far, especially into unknown territory, can easily ruin your trip and even prompt a common injury that prevents future endeavours too.
Record Your Experience
Whether you feel more comfortable with a notebook or a camera, recording your hiking experiences is an incredibly rewarding practice, one that will allow you to revisit some of your best moments again and again. Taking a moment to enjoy a respite can also help you to slow down and remember that, amid all your travel, nature is sometimes best appreciated simply and quietly.