Hiking Tips

Don't Travel Alone

Like any rule, there are exceptions. Before heading out let someone know where you are headed. If you're just going for a stroll in a nearby, well-traveled area you're as safe there as anywhere. But if you travel through heavily forested areas, with steep canyons and winding trails, you can easily get lost. And, of course, there are lots of gradations in between. Use your judgment.

Know Where You're Going

This tip is similar to the tip for not traveling alone. The same concern applies - you don't want to get lost. Stay on clearly marked or well-traveled trails until or unless you are experienced enough to take the uncommon route. Yes, they're sometimes not as interesting, but getting lost is interesting in a very unpleasant kind of way. Be prepared by having a map or compass with you. Even your smartphone can help guide you if you get lost.

Take Some Basic Gear

You can go overboard on gear. But for anything more than a simple, two-hour hike over easy terrain, a large chunk of peace of mind can be bought very cheaply.Take a lighter or matches. Matches can get wet, but a lighter can run out of fuel. No plan is perfect. A knife, especially one with lots of genuinely useful (as opposed to merely impressive) gadgets can be a literal lifesaver.

Take Basic Provisions

Water or other fluids like sports drinks are an obvious essential. You can lose a lot of fluid even over a two-hour period on a hot day. Heat stroke can kill, but is easily preventable. Even dehydration can radically reduce physical performance. Just remember water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon. Take what you need, not much more.

Exercise Common Sense

Among other things that means don't get carried away with your enthusiasm - and a belief in your invincibility - and tempt fate. Despite what you may have read in and about some places, Mother Nature is quite indifferent to hurting you when you do dumb things.

Dress Appropriately

Wearing light colored clothing will help keep you cool in hot weather, but it will also help you spot insects that might have attached to your clothing.

Lyme Disease

When going for a hike, be careful of ticks. Ticks are generally found in shady, moist areas at ground level. They cling to tall grass, brush and shrubs, usually no more than 18 to 24 inches off the ground. If brushed up against, they can attach to people or animals. Find more information on Lyme Disease.