Summer and fall are terrific times to go hiking. You really can't ask for a better activity; you can go as fast or slow as you want, stick to flatter walking trails or head into the mountains, and walk solo or with friends. If you're just getting into hiking, start slowly because heat, distance, and a number of other issues could catch you unaware. Preparation is simple, however, meaning you can set off on an adventure without much delay. Here are 5 tips for a successful hike.
1. Hike With a More Experienced Friend or Group, at Least at First
Instagram photos of a sole hiker gazing out over a spectacular vista may make you long for a calming solo hike, but don't do this if you're new. Always go with a more experienced friend or with a hiking group. Until you are more familiar with a route and until you are much more familiar with the ups and downs of hiking, you should not be alone. Friends and colleagues can get help if you're injured.
2. Find a Local Hiking Guide That Rates Paths by Skill Level
"Ease" is a relative term. A hike that sounds easy when described by an expert may still be too much for you. Find a local hiking guide -- most cities and states have expert hikers who publish books filled with details about hiking routes -- that rates each hike by skill level. Start with beginner hikes even if you think you're in shape and know the area.
3. Make Sure You Have the Right Gear
The gear you need will vary depending on the trail; a half-mile loop around a nature center may require a hat and good walking shoes, while boulder scrambling will require proper hiking boots and special socks. Regardless, be sure you have shoes and socks that are appropriate for the trail, and always bring a hat and sunglasses. Carry water with you, as well as basic first-aid supplies. And don't forget an extra battery pack for your phone!
4. Be Prepared -- for Bugs, Heat, and More
So many variables go into each hike that you should get into the habit of being prepared for pretty much anything. Carry water, energy snacks, bandages, sunscreen, and bug spray. Even if you put on that sunscreen and bug repellent before you leave home, carry more with you so you can reapply it as needed. Dress in layers to combat changing temperatures and invest in the right shoes. Carry an extra mask or two as well; you never know how many people will be on the same trail and how sweaty the mask you're wearing will get.
5. Do Less Than You Think Possible at First
On a nice day, it's very easy to overdo it while hiking. Plan your route and choose one that seems easier and shorter than you think you can handle. It's better to underdo it, especially when you first begin hiking, than to overdo it and need help.
Due to current events, some parks and trails might be closed or have new hours. Make sure to check while planning your next great adventure. Hiking is such an exciting and rewarding activity. We at Green Goo love hiking so much that we proudly donate 1% of the purchase of our Foot Care salve to support the diligent work of the Pacific Crest Trail Association. The PCTA protects and maintains the 2,650-mile-long trail spanning the southern and northern borders of the U.S. along California, Oregon, and Washington. What’s not to love?
If you head out on the trails and take Green Goo with you, take a picture and tag us on social media, @GreenGooHelps. We’d love to see your adventures and the amazing places that they take you! Before we sign off, we want to remind you to bring your hand sanitizer too. Sinks and soap probably won’t be available in a lot of places. Having it handy means, if you forget and touch something in a high traffic sear, you’ll be able to sanitize immediately. Better safe than sorry. We hope you enjoy your next expedition and that our tips are helpful. If you have any additional thoughts, let us know. Until next time, happy hiking!