Alongside being a fantastic sport, hiking is a great bonding activity that you can do with friends and loved ones. The benefits of hiking go beyond the fun you enjoy by exploring the beauty of nature. Hiking is beneficial for both your mental and physical health. However, not all hikes are easy as they might sound, especially if you’ve never been into one before. You never know what might sweep you off as you step on the trails. Before setting out and joining a rank of campers for a three-day hike in the mountain peaks, it is good as a beginner to bear in mind some of the hiking basics.
How to get started with hiking
The first thing that often comes to the minds of most novice hikers is an oversized backpack. Hiking is much more than just throwing those few pieces of clothing in a bag and setting out on a journey into the woods. As a beginner, here are some of the things you should get right before you immerse yourself outdoors.
- Start Simple, don’t be too ambitious
Level hikes near your home or a few distances away are good to get you started. Begin with short walks before advancing to rigorous hikes. Be careful not to overdo it, because you might get pissed off quickly. Besides, too much hiking at the start can lead to pain and injury. Decide in advance how long you’ll hike. Begin with a hike that lasts for less than a day. Remember that the amount of time, weather, distance, fitness level, and elevation gain will determine the hike you’ll pick.
- Choose the right hiking route/trail
Although there are several hiking trails to choose, it is paramount to choose a route that meets your hiking level. A path that allows you to end your hike and get back home quickly is recommended. There is no need to prove you’re a hero this early. But again, how can you find an appropriate hiking trail? One of the best resources you can use to find a good hiking trail is Google Maps.
- How to use Google Maps to find hiking trails
Google Maps feature a variety of ski and hiking trails to different destinations. To find the hiking trails around you, follow these steps.
•Open your browser like Safari or Chrome on your computer then choose Google Maps. Alternatively, if you’re using a smartphone device, choose Google Maps app.
•At the left side of Google Maps, there is a menu section written getting Around.’ Click on this menu and select the type of Menu you prefer. The maps featured are Satellite, Terrain, and Google Earth.
- Choose the terrain’ section to see your local terrain.
•You can zoom in to see various trails around you. You can also choose the cycling’ section and check the available trails.
Google Maps not only shows the hiking trails around you but also enables you to save them for offline use. Remember that the Internet connection might not be reliable once you dive into the woods.
Websites and guidebooks can help you get the right statistics about the distance, elevation gain, hiking difficulty, water sources, and directions and many more.
- Find a friend to accompany you
While hiking alone can give you a complete sense of freedom to explore nature, sometimes it is good if you can get a friend to accompany you for the trek. A friend can help you in case you encounter an emergency in the wild. If you can’t find a company, then choose short and popular hiking destinations. Before leaving, always let someone know where you’re going and for how long you’ll be away.
- Pick the right hiking gear
The recommended hiking gear you should take include hiking boots, socks, backpack, flashlight, tent, and food. A tent can help you in case of bad weather. Canned food is ideal. Food that spoils quickly like those with gravy and sauces. Wet food can leak and spoil your bag. Boots should be comfortable and well-fitting. Finally, pick a backpack that is not heavy.
Hiking is a fun-filled activity. It is more enjoyable when planned for. As a beginner preparing to dive into hiking for the first time, there are a couple of things you can do to make your first hiking experience a memorable one. Start simple, pick the right hiking trails, choose appropriate gear and find a friend to accompany you.