Hiking and Walking  





Planning Your Trip... steps graphic

Some of us have an aversion to spending time planning a hiking trip, you just want to up and go, but you’ll find a well prepared outing is much more enjoyable than just going off on the spur of the moment. I know this from personal experience. You want your trip to be smooth and hassle free, that’s half the joy of walking, to take the pressure off and relax in glorious countryside, but without making the effort to plan, then you’re setting yourself up for stress – which is completely counter productive.

When you hear the words “hiking trip,” we immediately think of images of bearded, weather-beaten guys with a hiking stick tramping a trail 200 miles from the nearest phone. The description is pretty much accurate, but only when you’re referring to a hiker in the purest form. It should be noted however that it is not how most of us hike! If you are on a hike in the mundane sense of the word, what you really are is an adventurous walker, there's little difference.

Below are some tips to make your journey an experience to remember:

Think Ahead

The difference between a great hiking trip and a trip to the hospital is really up to you! The greatest number of the dangerous situations faced during the journey are due mainly to lack of preparation and pre-planning on the part of the hiker. In order to avoid the mistakes that other people make, plan ahead.

If your trip is only for a day, you are not likely to require a permit. This means that you are completely on your own. This makes it all the more important for you to prepare and practice self-reliance and common sense.

In fact, going alone is not for first-time hikers. And even if you have a few trips under your belt, it is still recommended that you always have a buddy with you to help you in case of an emergency or you get injured.

Part of your pre-planning should be knowing what your destination will be like. This will give you a clue as to what you might bring and what kind of possible situations you may get into during the journey. What you shouldn’t do is overestimate your capabilities. Many hikers have learned this the hard way. Hike with some intellegence.

Take the Load off

The less you carry, the more enjoyable your time will be. That’s what lightweight hikers tend to report, and it’s correct for pretty obvious reasons. Who wants to go on a trek with 60 pounds of kit on his back? No one. So travel as light as you possibly can. The heaviest items in your pack should be your food and water.

Below are some recommended equipment for day hikers:

• Water bottles
• Flashlight
• Moleskin
• Comfortable hiking clothes
• Hiking shoes (not open toe footwear)
• Water
• Salty foods
• Trail mix
• Hard candy
• Electrolytic powder or drink

Don’t Pant Grunt and Groan

You are walking the perfect pace if you can talk while you are walking. But when you huff and puff, your legs, your digestive system, your whole body in fact does not get enough oxygen to function efficiently.

Speed walking can use up your energy reserves pretty quickly. What’s the hurry? The whole point of the journey is so you can enjoy the great outdoors, so slow down and smell the flowers along the way. Not only will this greatly experience the experience of hiking trips, it will also help relieve the soreness of muscles that results from long time walking.

Make the effort to slow down to a different pace, sometimes this takes time and a conscious effort, you’re not at the office, or cleaning the house or whatever, this is your time, to wake up and smell the coffee (well, flowers and grass and country things). Sometimes, despite a long walking trip, I arrive back at work on the Monday and feel energized, I may have covered between 10 or 50 miles over the weekend, and yet I feel alive and awake and ready to tackle the working week’s tasks. I can only put this down to relieving myself of the debilitating effect of mundane concerns and daily routine during a good trek.

Sara Wright steps graphic

 

 


 

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