Hiking is a wonderful way to connect with nature, enjoy some fresh air, and get a good workout. Few things are more restorative than a nice hike. However, because there are some risks involved, be sure to follow important safety rules.
No one wants their day enjoying the great outdoors to end in tragedy.
Bring Food and Water
The most important thing to take on your hike is water. A good rule of thumb to follow is that adults generally need 16 ounces of water per hour of hiking. If the weather is particularly hot, bring more. It is also a good idea to bring extra, just in case you hit a detour or end up going further than planned.
If your hike will be longer than about two hours, bring some food along as well. Plan for one small snack for every two hours of hiking. Good snacks for hiking include dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, and trail mix.
There are several good reasons to cover up when you go hiking. Loose, comfortable clothing that covers your body will protect you from scrapes, insect bites, and burns. Wear layers so that you can be comfortable as the temperatures fluctuate.
It is common to hit unexpected weather in the mountains or near the beach. If you think you might see rain, pack a poncho so that you can stay dry. Wearing a hat and sunscreen provides additional protection against the sun.
Stay on the Trail
Whether you are employing the buddy system or flying solo, you should always stay on marked trails. The majority of people who get lost or injured do so when they veer off the trail. Leaving the trail not only puts your safety at risk, but it damages the delicate ecosystems that surround you as well. If you are hiking in an unfamiliar area, use a map or trail app. It is also a good idea to let someone know where you are and when to expect you back. That way, if something unexpected happens, they will know where to look for you.
It doesn’t matter if you are an avid, experienced hiker or a novice; it is important for everyone to maintain a healthy respect for the great outdoors. Pack plenty of food and water, protect yourself from the elements, and stay on clearly marked trails. Nature is meant to be enjoyed, but it should be enjoyed wisely.
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