Hiking for beginners is an amazing workout. You don’t need to acquire special skills to learn to hike. For beginners, first time hiking can be intimidating. It is a fun activity, and you should make this activity safe. But, how to start hiking? This is the question you must be thinking. All you need is to be able to walk and manage yourself safely. Unlike walking on a paved path or treadmill, beginner hiking includes variable, unpredictable paths. This unpredictability is what makes hiking joyful.
Here are some fundamental hiking tips for beginners, use these to make your beginning hiking successful.
- Start with the Small and Right Trail as Per Your Fitness Level: First select a hike which is shorter than the distance you can normally cover by walk as hiking will be on the variable path. Estimate the required time for hiking a trail by figuring out the pace of two miles per hour. Next, you should review the changes in elevation and sum up an hour to your hiking time which was estimated for every thousand feet of gain. After you hike for once or twice, you’ll get a hold on the knowledge of elevation changes and how it works for you.
- Get Familiarised with the Trail: After you are done with the selection of trail, get a map of the area and review the reports and data related to your trek. You can always find resources from the internet. Also, find out if the trek is a loop or you will have to backtrack. Also, note down if there are any intersecting trails where you could take a wrong turn. Also, make sure you look for a good spot for food with a good view. As a beginner, keep electronic navigation and map with you.
- Timing: It’s highly recommended you to start hiking early. As if you start later there will be more crowds. But if you are afraid to start hiking alone, then start at a popular time to get accompanied by other people. You might face issues like no parking place etc. But you will have other people to hike with you.
- Preparation Session: Before you start hiking, you should be primarily prepared with essential hiking gear for beginners. Even if it takes just a little time, there are a few trails which need permission. If you are not sure about that, call the park office to get clear information. They are sometimes free and sometimes charge a small amount to hike. Also, check the weather before you start your hiking. If the weather is bad, you should stop for that day and postpone the hiking for another day. Also, the weather conditions are often much different on mountains than the towns closest to it. You always have the option to call the park office before you leave. Ask them if all the trails are open or not. Sometimes bad weather conditions result in nearby trails. So don’t make this mistake, ask before you leave.
- Tell Someone: There is another great tip from all the tips for hikers. This can be a lifesaver. Tell someone before you go hiking. You can text someone and your return time. If something wrong happens, this will increase your chances of being found.
- Hiking is for Fun, not a Race: In hiking, steadiness is better just as the story of turtle and hare. Often beginners start the hiking with speed, and later they get tired. So save your energy, especially if it a long hike. You never know what you will face later in the hike, and you may need energy for that. For example, if you take a wrong turn, you will need the energy to get back to the correct trail. It is a safety matter. Keep a juice bottle with you to give you the energy to finish the trek. If you are with a group, always stay in the group. Don’t try to race with them and end up getting lost. If your team decide to split up in groups, plan some intervals for the group to reform. It is worse to not knowing where your group members are. Also begin hiking at a comfortable pace, so that you enjoy the hike and fresh air. Be aware of the wildlife and have fun.
- Watch It: This one is obvious. There are lots of people who needed to get rescued because of a twisted ankle. Also, the biggest risk is to step on the wrong place. This could be slipping on a rock, twisting your ankle or tripping. Also, you could step on some poisonous snake or insect. Always be conscious and watch your feet.
- Don’t Panic if You Get Lost: If you feel that you are lost, the first thing is to stop and look at your guide to find out something familiar. If you can’t find something like this, then backtrack until you find something familiar to get on the right track. Getting lost is a common thing that happens to most of the hikers. So don’t panic and backtrack as backtrack solves the problem 99% of the time. If backtracking does not solve the problem, then try calling your friends if your phone has a signal or if you have GPS try using it. Or yell HELP to get help from any person who is nearby. If you feel cold, pill dead leaves on top of you to keep yourself warm.
9. Share the Experience: After coming back, inform someone that you are safely returned. Share your pictures and describe them on social media. Use popular hashtags to get more people to see your posts. Make hiking a hobby with the above hiking tips, and your life will be improved in a great way.
Hiking essentials for beginners:
- If a hiker is passing by and you are on a flat space, give the hiker space to pass.
- Say “hello” when you pass the other hikers.
- Listen to music but use headphones.
- If you have a dog with you, keep it in control.
- Always stay on the trail.
- Don’t throw your trash and make the place dirty.
- Yield to bikes and horses.
About the Author:
Danny Smith is CEO and Founder of Xtend Outdoors Australia which manufactures and sell caravan annexes, awnings and accessories. He just loves caravan holidays and frequently blog about caravanning trips, parks and tips.
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