Things to Be Aware of when Hiking
an outdoor activity, consisting of walking around and exploring the nature in areas of unspoiled wilderness, generally on
trails. Hiking that takes place off trails is usually called cross country hiking, bushhacking or bushwalking.
& Other Touring
There are many other outdoor activities based on hiking. Hiking is often the only way to get to
explore some wonderful places and possibly the best way to know nature. It is better than a tour in a car because you are
not intruded upon by engine noise, windows or dust and you really get to see what's around you.
On the other hand,
it also requires a proper physical training and knowledge, especially when done over difficult terrain or on long distances.
You also need a backpack for food, water and equipment. Hikers are often caught in unsuitable weather and suffer mishaps.
In some countries, they are required to pay in case they need a rescue.
Hiking & the Environment
often look for beautiful untouched environments to explore. These places are often very fragile and can accidentally be destroyed.
Although one individual alone usually doesn't do much harm, the mass effect of a larger number of people is sometimes very
harmful. For example, when a group of hikers gather wood to start a fire, they don't do much harm to the forest. However,
when this happens for years and years, the area is stripped of important nutrients.
Protected areas usually have specific
rules to protect the environment. If these rules are followed, the impact of hiking on the environment is significantly reduced.
Such rules include forbidding camping outside especially designated areas, wood fires and imposing a certain number of hikers
Some hikers share the philosophy of leaving no trace. This refers to hiking in such a way that future hikers
won't even notice the presence of previous humans. Those who believe in this obey certain rules even when they are not imposed
by a legal authority.
Human waste is an important source of negative impact on the environment. They can contaminate
watersheds and harm other hikers who pass by. You can prevent bacterial contamination by digging catholes 4 to 10 inches deep
into the ground and covering them after use. To minimize the risk, you have to dig them at least 200 feet away from trails
and water sources.
Rare or endangered species are also an attraction for hikers. However, some of them are very sensitive
to human presence, especially around or during mating season. Hikers should be aware of these habits to reduce the risk of
harming endangered species.
One of the greatest risks associated with hiking is that of unintentionally starting a
fire. This can be caused by an individual hiker as well and sometimes ends up by destroying large areas of woods. Following
certain rules and setting up cooking devices can significantly reduce this risk.
Every outdoor activity includes certain
risks, even if you're not doing anything to hurt yourself or the environment. Risks such as bodily injury, metabolic disturbances
or just getting lost are always there. However, with proper precautions, hiking and other outdoor activities are a safe and
Think Again About Hiking...
When I was a teenager, I
lived in Plaistow, New Hampshire. New England is certainly a great place to go hiking. It just so happened my boyfriend was
a hiker. Wanting to spend every waking moment with him, of course, I became a hiker as well!
My first mountain? Mount
Washington, the highest mountain in New England! What teenage girls must consider before joining their boyfriend for hiking
is, "What do you wear to go hiking?" I wore a simple pair of Keds with no socks to climb
Mt. Washington. What a day that was for me! Well, it was quite a day for everyone, because the last part of the trip I was
lame, of course, so someone had to hold me up on each side so I could finish the trip on my own two feet!
I'll never forget that Sunday morning
waking up, my mother saying, "It's time to get up and go to church!" and I rolled over and said, "Over my dead body.... that
just happens to by lying here right now!" I was sore for a week. And the funny thing is - that was when I was about 16 years
It's been a long time since those teenage years full of hiking all the mountains in New England. This July I'll have
my 50th birthday, it seems impossible....
But if I could have anything for my birthday, I'd ask for
the ability to be able to hike again, hike again in the mountains, that is. I had an injury, a serious one to my leg &
unfortunately I can barely walk around the block now. But if you are able & if you live within driving distance of some
mountains; hiking is the most wonderful challenge you'll take on.
Hiking was never easy for me, as it appeared to be for the rest of the gang I was hanging
around with. They were all hikers, together for a number of years, and I was just beginning. I had to struggle, not being
in tip top physical shape, to keep up with the others. Besides that fact, I was only 5 foot tall and everyone else towered
over me. Long legs do make a difference!
And so, I was challenged each time I went hiking. I had to keep up, I had to make it, no one
was going to let me sit and rest until the others made it back down to get me, I just HAD TO DO IT!!! It was a personal challenge.
I must say that I was always so thankful when we reached the top. I was thankful that I didn't
quit. I was ever so "in awe" of the view from the top of a mountain. Looking out over the land, seeing how far you climbed,
just the beauty of nature... it's something so beautiful & fulfilling it's difficult to describe.
I would have loved to know what I know now, about awareness, mindfulness - meditation &
relaxation breathing - back then. What wonderful tools they would have been to use! I often write now, stories of being in
the woods, climbing mountains, describing the feel of the breeze on my skin, the smell of the trees & the earth, the sounds
of the forest - trying to identify earth's creatures & the taste of salt from an honest sweat. Oh what pleasure nature
is to the eye!
It's a respite from cars, cities, noise, smog & chaos.
You can bring healthy & nutritious
food with you & water. Hiking is far away from the pizza guy & the fast food drive thru! It's amazing how good
trail mix tastes when you're out in nature, hiking and working up a real hunger. You know you're hungry when you've been hiking!
And water never tasted so good!
That first climb, Mt. Washington, it was in the spring & Tuckerman's Ravine still had
snow in it. Before I knew it the guys had me climbing between the melting snow and the ground on a narrow wet shelf... yes...
with my white Keds and all! Who would ever experience something so challenging if they never got outside & challenged
themself to it?
Sincerely, I ask you all, to take advantage of your health. Be so grateful to have the ability
to hike that you learn as much as you can about hiking and try it out. It's so great! I miss New England so much. Living in
Dayton, Ohio is certainly a far cry from New Hampshire!
It's a great sport, try hiking! It's a cheap date for singles or marrieds and what a wonderful
gift to give your children, bringing them up hiking in nature! Teach them how to challenge themselves mentally & physically!
You'll be practicing responsible parenting!
By David Stone
Mar 13, 2006
Here are a few tips that are essential to making a hiking trip
successful and rewarding. It is important to remember that hiking is usually done away from civilization, so assistance is
not at your disposal. This makes safety and planning an essential part of your hiking trip that should not be overlooked.
out your trip is the first and most important part of planning. This will be the foundation to build your itinerary and your
supply list, especially if you are taking a long multi-day hike. It is good to stick to well traveled routes like the Appalachian
Trail because they are easy to follow and there are many campsites along the way. When you choose a location to hike, do your
research. Many trails have information online or you can call the local ranger station for more information about what to
expect. Rangers also offer services that can make your trip easier and safer. Some rangers have stations that you can check
in with along the trail, and if you do not check in they may be able to contact a relative to make sure that you are ok. You
will also need a map to plan where you would like to stay each night. Make alternate routes that you can take if you would
like to get off of the trail sooner than expected. Local towns often have buses than can run you to your destination for a
fair price. If you are planning an extended hike for 5 days or longer, have a package mailed to a local post office along
the trail at the halfway point. This will lighten the burden of carrying all the food you will require. Make sure to include
an indulgence like candy or a favorite book to look forward to.
Planning for safety is easy, but is very strict. There
is always room for a first aid kit and any medication that you may require. Plan for this. Also regular exercise before your
trip is an important safety measure. Even if you are in great shape, you probably aren't walking on various terrains for six
hours at a time. Take long walks in the morning or evening one - two weeks prior to hiking. Exhaustion is the most common
and most preventable problem to have on a trail.
Now that you know what kid of trip you have ahead, you can pack accordingly.
A backpack with a frame is a must. Overnight bags or messenger bags will not cut it. Framed backpacks come is two forms. Exterior
frame packs offer more weight support and versatility, but are bulky. Interior frame packs, also called soft packs, offer
more comfort and are more compact, and are a favorite among female hikers. The other equipment you will need to bring are
a water purifier, multipurpose tool like a Leatherman or survival knife, canteen, sleeping bag, a pot, first aid kit, compass.
There other items that make the hike easier, but these will get you along. There is a lot that nature can provide if you use
some creative thinking. Kitchen utensils should also be included to your fancy. Clothing should be minimal to keep you comfortable.
Undergarmets are important because you will be sweating more than usual and you don't want to a rash to set in. Socks and
such with a polyester mix are the standard for hikers because they are light and they evaporate water or sweat very quickly.
Wet socks can make you feet much more uncomfortable.
When it comes time to choose food, make sure it is something you
will enjoy. Sporting goods stores carry dried meals for every taste. They are light and waterproof, so there is no need to
worry about them. When there is a group, it is easier to distribute the weight of other foods such as canned items. Snacks
are a staple food for hikers because they are light quickly eaten on short breaks. Trail mix and peanuts are high in energy
and satisfy hunger with all natural fats.
Lastly, personal items should be kept to a minimum. Playing cards or small
nerf balls are very light items that can be enjoyed by a small group. A long book is a great way for a solo hiker to occupy
himself when resting. A favorite hiker past time is simply using what you have got by whittling a way at a good piece of wood
with a pocket knife. The key to enjoyment during a hiking trip is to do something that you are not accustomed to doing. This
will make your experience unique and may drive you to plan more trips.