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Monday, October 22, 2012

New to Hiking? Take Some Advice to Make Your Hike Better and Safer

Today's post is from returning guest-writer Miscelleana R, and offers some great suggestions to new hikers.  Hope you enjoy.

Fall is a great time to go camping
Being outside in nature can be one of the most calming and beautiful ways to enjoy the outdoors. From camping to fishing to the many other ways to explore, there are plenty of ways to choose to spend your sunny or rainy days. Hiking seems to be one of those “easy-anyone-can-do-it” outdoor activities, but honestly, that is not the case. If a new hiker is not prepared with good information, small things could potentially cause a really big problem.
To help out the new hiker, here are three tips to get you started.

Always use local maps from bookstores or visitor centers
I know it may seem to be the same thing if you use a road map or even a road application on your smartphone to travel through the trails. I mean, the map will show trails, right? Not really.

It’s important to find the local bookstore or visitor center near the trail or park as they will have maps that are specifically printed for hikers. You have less of a chance of getting lost when you have the right map.
Wearing new boots you bought the day before

This is the same thought as when you buy a brand new baseball glove. You can’t just go out and play the World Series. Same applies for the new hiking boots you bought for your trip. Make sure you buy the boots a few weeks ahead of time, and start wearing them to stretch them and form them to your feet. If you don’t, expect blisters and sore spots and difficult maneuvering ability throughout the trails.

Get an early start
Hiking brings down the average moving speed of a person, which is about 3 mph, to as low as 1 mph. Speeds could be even slower with big groups and children. This means that a 10-mile hike could easily take 10 hours at MINIMUM. What happens if you start at 1pm instead of 7am?

So, be ready and prepared to get an early start or have a few backup routes that are shorter if you end up getting to your hiking destination later than planned.

Just as an added note…enjoying the outdoors may be as much in our nature as the animals that live happily outside, but that is where some forget that outside is the realm and home of animals. It’s more than important to make sure that when you do venture out into the wild that you Leave No Trace. This is something that the website www.lnt.org keeps their focus on: lowering our impact on nature.
Here are some steps that come directly from backpacker.com that will help you Leave No Trace:
·         200 feet equals 40 adult strides
·         Use the rubber tip of a spatula to scrap leftover food from plates and bowls into your mouth
·         Reduce odors by placing silica gel desiccates (those moisture-absorbing packets found in shoe boxes and other packages) into your trash bag, then double-bagging it
·         Use dryer lint as natural fire tinder
·         Carry versatile sanitary wipes instead of flimsy toilet paper
·         Stop washing dishes

Well, these are just three important pieces to be mindful of, but there are plenty more, of course. Whatever you do, just be safe and try to cover all your bases.
About the Author:

Miscelleana Rhinehart enjoys being outdoors almost as she enjoys writing. She writes online classifieds for NY Mazda dealers and other companies.


  1. Good advice!
    But some boots take longer than that to be broken in properly... so perhaps take along something for blisters as well?

  2. Agreed. I'm sure it all depends on the boot and how much they really get "broken into" before the big hike. Definitely take something extra.


Bow Adventures - Fall 2012 Edition!