Strapping on hiking boots and journeying into the great outdoors may be one of the most fulfilling activities a person can experience. If it’s done without proper preparation and planning it can also be one of the worst experiences. Things like location, weather and gear all play an important role in the hiking experience. There’s nothing quite like getting outside for some fresh air after being stuck indoors all winter due to rain or snow. Or getting valuable daily exercise while gazing on a majestic mountain peak.
One item on the list is to choose the location. Except for the serious adventurers that will be a spot that’s close and convenient. For some who live far enough away from town that may be hiking around your house. For everyone else there are 7,804 state parks in the United States, 58 national parks, and multitudinous hiking trails. When visiting any of those places it’s always a good idea to make sure they’re open at the time you’re planning to be there.
Gear is also an important part of hiking. Water, food and a cell phone are important items to take along on a trip. Water is something every human being needs throughout the day, more so when exerting energy. Food is also very important and provides energy to the body. Even if the hike is planned to be only 15 minutes, unforeseen circumstances can always arise. Apples, pears, peaches or other fruit make a good snack while on the trail. A cell phone is also of vital importance in case of emergency such as a broken down car, especially the farther off the main trail the hike is. One more item for the hike is a small camera. When hiking you may want to stop to see the flowers and take a picture, or capture the perfect photo of the wildlife that crosses your path, or snap a shot of the scenery. Also a small backpack to carry those needed items in may prove to be a valuable commodity; but it’s not a good idea to fill the backpack with unnecessary, overweight junk. Only the necessities. And last on the gear checklist is clothing; it’s important to dress for the occasion.
Next on the list is weather conditions. Checking weather forecasts before a hiking trip can save a lot of trouble. The weather channel has up to date forecasts for most areas throughout the United States. Some thrill seekers intentionally venture out into dangerous conditions, but it’s not recommended for the safety minded person. Also check for special weather advisory alerts such as avalanches and other disasters that occur once weather outside is clear and nice.
This list only includes basic guidelines, and requirements can change with each individual hiking trip. If safety is a concern make sure to prepare well in advance and be cautious. There are numerous places to find safety tips and advice for hikers, and it might be a good idea to check them out. And don’t forget to tie the hiking shoelaces up tight.