Planning For a Hike

by Jackie on March 13, 2015

Now that spring is finally deciding to show her beautiful face, going hiking is great way to spend a day outdoors and a rewarding way to get exercise. However, before heading out on the trails, make sure you are prepared. Planning ahead will greatly increase both your safety and your enjoyment of the hike. Below is a list of some things to consider before hitting the trail.

 

Hiking upMOST IMPORTANT! Tell others where you are going.

One of the most important things to do before leaving for your hike is to let someone know your plans, whether hiking by yourself or in a group. At minimum, let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return.

 

What to wear?
The one item that will influence your hiking experience the most is your footwear. Good footwear will make all the difference! Hiking with bad footwear will likely ruin this great experience. The range of hiking boots varies from less expensive day boots to the greater support and durability of trekking boots. Whichever boot you choose, make sure they are waterproofed with a product like GoreTex. Make sure to check the weather before you head out so you can dress appropriately. A hat and sunscreen are must-bring items, even on a somewhat cloudy day. You can sometimes get the biggest sunburn on a cloud day!

 

Bring Plenty of Water, and food.
Always make sure to bring plenty of water. Know how long your hike will take and bring the appropriate amount of food and water, plus additional nutrition such as high caloric energy bars, just in case the hike takes longer than you had anticipated.

 

Prepare for an injury or emergency.
Bring a small first aid kit (a small, sealable plastic bag will do nicely). At a minimum, your kit should contain aspirin or ibuprofen, a few bandages, and some antibacterial cream. These are the basics that will come in handy in case of a cut or scrape, and can help until you are able to seek professional medical attention if you need it. Waterproof matches or lighter and small flashlight are also important items, should you get caught out after dark.

 

Know the hike.
Make sure to bring a compass and a good quality topographical map, with specific directions for your hike. Knowing the topographical contours of a particular trail will help you if you’re unsure of your exact location on the hike. Bring a mobile phone, in case of an emergency. You may not get service along the valley trails, but, with the prevalence of communications towers there is a good chance that you may be able to get a service signal from the ridges. If someone in your group gets injured, this may be your best bet to get the quickest help.

 

Check the weather.
Before hitting the trail, get a weather forecast as close to your hike time as possible. As we all know, weather forecasting isn’t an exact science and the weekend forecast issued on a Monday or Tuesday can be significantly different from the forecast issued on Friday afternoon. You don’t want to go out on a hike without wet weather gear, if there is a chance of rain.

 

Know what poisonous plants in your area look like.
If you’re hiking in a region that has poison ivy, oak or sumac, make sure you are aware of what the plants look like and how to avoid them. If you have never suffered a reaction in the past, do not think you are immune, it can be the exact opposite. The oils that cause the rash can have a cumulative effect on your resistance. If you believe you may have been exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac, taking immediate action can reduce the length and severity of an outbreak.

 

Jackie

Jackie

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
I'm a fitness nut. I know what you're thinking, one of these people who has never been fat a day in her life, and can eat whatever she wants. The truth is I struggled with my weight growing up and lived in a household where everything seemed to be fried. Once I got away from home I realized I had the choice to eat and exercise how I wanted. I've gained a lot of insight into working as a personal trainer, and feel I can relate to others that were in my situation. I think if I can do it then you can to, and if you want to start kicking butt then hop on board and lets get started.
Jackie

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