4 Essential Tips for Beginners in Hiking
Prepare for an amazing journey.
Life can get tough and draining, which is why we constantly find ways to unwind, even for just a little while. Some read books, watch movies, sip cups of their favorite brew, or fly out of the country to experience what a bit of history and culture can do to their weary soul.
On the other hand, there are those who go out of town to be one with nature and to see the world from a different perspective—like from the top of a mountain. Hiking keeps the heart pumping not just from the cardio workout but also from the excitement of seeing amazing scenery once you get to the summit. If you haven’t tried hiking, now is the time to say yes to what could possibly be your most thrilling adventure yet. But before that, here are some do's and don'ts to remember.
Do your research.
What makes a hike successful is proper and extensive research. Hiking is fun and exciting, but it isn’t exactly a walk in the park. It means having to go through rough and uneven terrains, extreme weather conditions, and maybe even coming across insects and wild animals. Doing research helps you plan your hike accordingly, and ensures that you are safe and unscathed when you descend from the mountains. Fortunately, there are a lot of research materials that you can find online. A credible website to check out is www.pinoymountaineer.com. The website is run by Gideon Lasco, who has climbed 150 mountains in the Philippines and has hiked in over 20 countries in six continents since 2003.
Make an itinerary.
Similar to planning for local and international travels, coming up with an itinerary is highly recommended because it creates a framework for your hike. It is best to follow a schedule because time is very important in hiking,” says Teej Salvador, a hiker and an SAP professional for a multinational company based in Makati. “You do not want to be wandering in the woods at night without any idea where you are going,” adds Teej, who started hiking in 2010.
Join hiking groups and attend pre-hiking meetings.
Unless you are an experienced hiker, hiking solo is never advised, so it is best to join hiking groups or start one with your friends, family members, or colleagues. Hiking groups usually post schedules of their upcoming climbs on their websites. Make sure to check their schedule regularly or follow their social media accounts. Joining pre-climb meetings is essential as this is where instructions and important details like hiking conditions and local information are discussed. Individual tasks and responsibilities for the hike are also delegated during the meeting. It is also a good time for you to mingle with your fellow hikers. If you can’t attend pre-climb meetings, joining in their group chats is also advisable.
Pack smart. And light!
Hikers are advised to only bring essentials such as clothes, food, water, toiletries, medicine, and a first aid kit. When going for an overnight hike or if you will be out there for a couple of days, you should also consider your camping equipment. Tents are bulky and heavy, and hikers usually take turns in carrying them during the hike. Hikers also usually chip in to buy portable cook sets since they are expensive. Other camping and hiking essentials that you may want to bring are ropes, ribbons and a Swiss Knife. When packing, include only the necessary pieces of clothing. A jacket or sweater is important as it might get chilly up in the mountains, especially at night. Investing in good trekking shoes is a good idea but rubber shoes with thick soles should be okay, especially for beginners. Pack everything in a durable and waterproof backpack (no shoulder bags, please). If waterproof bags are unavailable, you can bring rain covers or plastic bags big enough to wrap your bags with. Packing smart will help you climb with ease, prevent injuries like sprain, and lessen the strain on your lower back, hips, and knees. For more information on what to pack, see this comprehensive list from the Pinoy Mountaineer website.
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