1. Hike with a friend: This way if something were to happen, I.e. if you have no service, or get hurt, you can send someone for help. If you get lost, you will most likely be less spooked if you’re with a companion. It’s also nice, simply, to share the experience with someone! If you do decide to hike alone, always let someone know which hike you plan to do, and when to expect your return so someone knows where to find you. Additionally, if you are hiking alone, do not tell others, most hikers are super awesome people, but you just never know, so don’t put yourself in a compromising situation. You want to return from your hike safely!
2. Do your research: map out your day and decide which trail you plan to hike. There is a great app called AllTrails. Here you’re able to see other hikers experiences along the trail, see photos of landmarks and download a map of the trail that can be accessed offline! You will also be able to see the rating of the trail and about how long the tail will take to complete. You will most likely lose cell service as many hikes are in remote locations, nature doesn’t have cell towers, friends!
3. Look at the difficulty level of the trail and see whether or not the trail is blazed (often a 2”x4” colored marker nailed to trees) along the way. If you’re just getting into hiking it’s best to stay on trails that are clearly marked. Want to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to respond efficiently and appropriately when they arise.
5. Start early: Hiking is much different than a leisurely stroll in the park, one mile on flat ground can be walked easily in 15 minutes. Generally speaking, you can calculate the estimated time for a hike by giving yourself 30 minutes per mile plus an additional 30 minutes for each 1,000’ in elevation gain. You don’t want to be caught in the dark, or hiking up a bald during peak sun hours.
6. Check the weather in the area you’re hiking: things to check for wind advisory (especially if hiking on a ridge), rain/storms (especially if your trail involves crossing rivers) flash flood warnings/snow/sleet if you’re not prepared these can be very dangerous. Keep in mind can be 80 and sunny at the base of a mountain and snowing at the peak.
7. Dress appropriately and in layers: Be sure to have solid ankle support for rough terrain, a backpack with a bladder is so convenient, flashlight/headlamp (in case you’re caught in the dark), Survival bracelet (which includes a compass, fire starter and whistle in case of an emergency), hiking boots (choose what works best for you, a great rule of thumb is to get a half size bigger than your normal shoe size so your feet don’t slam the front of the boot with every step, but are also not so big that your heels slip within the shoes), snacks, hiking poles, and a map.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips, more posts to come regarding details on these topics!