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  • Writer's pictureKress

Hiking for Beginners

Want to get into hiking but not sure where to start? I'm so excited for you! Hiking is the absolute best, and it literally changed my life. It can be an intimidating hobby to take up, and I want to dispel some of that fear! When I started hiking, I made a lot of mistakes, and I've learned a lot, so here are some helpful tips to get you started!

First of all, let's get this clear: Hiking is for EVERYONE. Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you NEED a certain brand of gear or that you NEED the most expensive clothes. They're wrong - what you have is going to do just fine.

Okay, so let's start with talking about safety. I made a whole blog post on this a while back, so I'll just hit some main points in this post:

  • Always tell someone where you're going. If something does happen, having someone know your plan can help you when you need it the most!

  • Carry lots of water, snacks, and first aid - this is pretty common sense, but I've been in lots of situations where I forgot snacks, and it makes a big difference. Always being more than you need just in case!

  • Dress for the weather. You don't want to get wet, cold, or too hot! Layers are your best friend in colder weather, and a hat is a lifesaver to protect from the sun.

  • Be animal aware. Carry bear spray if you're going to be hiking around predators (it's not just for bears!), and make some noise while on the trail. Don't be inconsiderate to other hikers but if you're on a low-trafficked trail the occasional shout will let animals know you're there, so you won't surprise them! Also, bear bells don't work. Stop using them.

  • leave yourself ample time to finish a trail before sunset. Hiking in the dark can be dangerous and opens up the opportunity to get really lost.

Hiking safety is the most important thing to get familiar with.

Now we can talk about footwear:

You do want something supportive on your feet. I love my Columbia Newton Ridges. They are tried and true, always keep my feet comfy, and they are waterproof! That being said, you don't need to go out and buy new boots to go hiking. The old running shoes in your closet will work just fine on your average day trail. Just avoid flip flops!

Picking a trail:

This can be tough. My best advice is to always hike within your ability. If you're recovering from an injury or know you aren't in great shape, you should pick a difficulty level you know you can 100% do. You don't want to endanger yourself or someone else.

If you aren't sure what difficulty is right for you, start easy and work your way up! There's also no harm in sticking local to work up your confidence!

Lastly, I'll go over some etiquette and jargon that hikers use!

  • Trailhead = where the trail starts.

  • Descending hikers usually have the right of way!

  • Stay on trail - this avoids you getting lost, and making sure you don't disturb fragile ecosystems!

  • Be considerate and kind to other hikers!

  • Take only photos and leave only footprints. Leave everything you find where it was, and pack out all your trash!

  • Blaze = colour coded markers that help you find your way on the trail.

  • LNT = the leave no trace principles.

Now that we've gone over the basics get out there and start hiking! Happy trails!

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