Photo by Holly Mandarich from Unsplash
It’s hiking season. The weather is warm, the mountains are beautiful, and it’s time to hit the trail. Hiking is a great activity anyone can enjoy. Beginning hikers and advanced hikers should take advantage of the beautiful trails, so here are a few tips to get you ready for hiking season.
1) Stay Hydrated
The most important thing to do while hiking is to stay hydrated. Hiking can quickly dehydrate you as you walk in the hot sun, so prevent dehydration by slowly sipping on some water during the entire trail. Camelbak backpacks are great hiking backpacks because they have a pouch just for water storage, and a convenient straw to get the water. This helps you not have to stop and dig through your backpack every time you want to get a drink of water.
Always drink water when hiking and consider bringing a drink like Powerade that is full of electrolytes. Electrolytes help your muscles perform correctly. If your body doesn’t have enough electrolytes your muscles could start to cramp which is not fun while hiking.
2) Pack Snacks
Hiking is a labor-intensive activity that is going to burn calories. Pack snacks like a trail mix full of nuts to help keep your energy level up. My favorite trail mix recipe is a mix of goldfish, cashews, peanuts, pretzels, raisins, and m&m’s. I also like to pack dried mango. Pack snacks that you know you will enjoy and that are light to carry. It’s important to keep your backpack light while hiking so it doesn’t weigh you down.
3) Protect Your Feet
Hiking can be hard on your feet. You are constantly walking up and down hills, rocky paths, or maybe even crossing a creek.
Wear sturdy hiking shoes to help protect your feet. Make sure they fit properly and won’t be too large or too small. If your shoes are too small you will constantly be hitting your toes and your feet will tire quickly. If your shoes are too large, your feet will slide around in your shoes and could cause you balance issues and lead to blisters. Buy nice hiking socks that are breathable. Bring supplies to treat a blister in case you get one.
Hiking can lead to a sprained ankle, try to prevent this by wearing shoes that have ankle support and watching where you step. If you do get a sprained ankle, Teton Foot and Ankle Center says to rest, ice, and elevate your sprained ankle.
4) Prepare for the Weather
Be sure to check the weather before you start hiking. My favorite hiking weather is slightly cloudy skies. I try to hike early in the morning before the weather gets too hot. I plan my hikes on days that aren’t supposed to rain, but if I check the forecast that morning and see a chance of rain, I pack a light rain jacket and an extra pair of socks. Always bring a small travel-sized sunscreen and remember to use it. If on the day of your hiking trip the weather forecast randomly switches from clear skies to lightning storms, it’s probably best to reschedule your hike. It’s better to be safe than risk getting stuck in the mountains during a muddy lightning storm.
5) Hike with Friends
My last tip is to hike with friends. Hiking with at least one other person is a safe hiking practice. Your friend can keep you company, assist you if you get injured, and help navigate the trail. So grab a friend, water, snacks, and socks, check the weather and get on the trail this season.