Immersive, adventurous, fun – there is no doubt that hiking is one of those low-impact workouts that not only gives us a wide range of health benefits but also satisfies our spirit. Any person whose soul is bound to travel would never miss the peace and quiet, the breathtaking sceneries, and the invigorating feel of the ascent to the mountains.
Honestly, after the city streets’ hustle and bustle, it is quite refreshing to commune with nature by hiking the mountaintops and witnessing the sun’s rise and fall from there.
Despite the fun and health benefits that hiking can offer, it is also known to be one of the most dangerous and treacherous outdoor activities. Since it is an open field of unpredictable variables, literally anything can happen to a person during hiking, and if he is not prepared, he may pay for it with his life. So, how can we stay safe during hiking, and what preparations can we make to avoid getting into difficult hiking situations?
1. GAUGE YOUR HIKING DISTANCE ACCORDING TO YOUR LEVEL
If you are a first-time hiker, it is important to gauge your hiking distance based on your fitness level and limitations. Despite being a low-impact workout, hiking can take its toll on one’s body, especially if you are not prepared as to the distance of the trail and elevation changes. The trails sometimes are quite tricky, and they may take you by surprise.
2. ASK THE EXPERTS
Consulting a park ranger is wise when deciding on a hiking trip. Take note that park rangers knew the area better than anybody else. They can actually give you key information about what to expect during the hike. This information may include what animals reside there, flora and fauna, what recent changes happened in the area – these are valuable information that every hiker should know to keep both themselves and the environment as safe as possible.
3. HAVE AN ITINERARY AND DO NOT GO SOLO
Planning everything, including where to go, where and when to stop, the route to follow, and the starting point and time is key to a smooth hiking adventure. When traveling, always bring with you at least one person because we cannot predict what’s going to happen to us in the wilderness when we are alone. Also, do not hesitate to share the said itinerary with an outsider as they might later help trace you when your group somehow gets lost or doesn’t arrive at the destination on time.
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4. BRING THE ESSENTIALS
Hikers know better than to forget these essentials when going on an adventure. Having these packed and secured within their backpacks ensures that hikers can keep themselves safe and respond accordingly should there be an emergency.
- First aid kit (including medicines for allergies)
- Tools for navigation such as GPS, map, and compass
- Nutrition (food)
- Sun protection
- Coats and jackets
- Illumination (Flashlights and lamps)
- Matches, lighters, fire starters
- Repair kits such as multifunctional tool and duct tapes
- Emergency shelters such as tents, space blanket, and sleeping bags
5. DRESS TO HIKE AND BE MINDFUL
Wear the right clothes, boots, and socks during hiking. If you’re planning to make hiking a part of your lifestyle, invest in quality hiking gear and shoes. Wearing clothes made of wool or synthetic cloth can do the trick. When hiking, walk smoothly and avoid skimping off rocks as this may cause accidents and slips, ruining your perfect hiking experience. Avoid touching unfamiliar plants and/or insects because you know what happens to people who do that in the movies.
6. CONSERVE YOUR ENERGY
The first half of the hike is where all the excitement and vigor evident. If you knew you still got a long trail ahead, conserve your energy. Don’t come running up and down the hill just because you are too excited, because boy when the second half begins, your body would surely begin to clamor. According to park rangers, this is mainly why slips and accidental falls happen because most of the hikers have already lost their strength and muscle control. To be safe, pick up a pace that you can maintain from the start until the end of your hike and conserve your energy.
7. LEAVE THE PLACE EXACTLY THE WAY IT IS WHEN YOU ARRIVED
Always, when going hiking, take care of the place that you visit or camped in to.
That means no trash should be left behind in the mountains. Avoid stomping on vegetation and cutting down trees for whatever purpose. This is one way of taking care of the environment and giving back to the beautiful experience and health benefits nature provides.