My friend Shiela took me hiking over the weekend, and let me tell you, very few things will get me off my bed on a balmy day if not for the fact she’s leaving for Europe to study and wanted to do “something active!” with me before she left.
I was advised to wear comfortable shoes (“The trail is relatively flat, you just need the kind with the ridges on the bottom,” she said) a hat, a shit ton of water, and to put on some sunblock.
Shiela conveniently left out the part where I would probably get the wind knocked out of me because I’m not used to hiking up inclines.
So, although I enjoyed the trip and the view was worth it, I went to search for proper ways you can prepare yourself to go on a day hike so you aren’t whining for two hours while on the climb:
Decide how long you have to hike. “As this is a beginner’s guide to hiking, we’re not looking to hike the Appalachian Trail – but rather trails that can be done in less than a day, that won’t require you to pack a tent, or bring extra change of clothes. Pick a hike based on how much time you have – do you have the entire Sunday? Or do you just have a few hours on a Tuesday afternoon?” asks Nerd Fitness.
Decide if you’ll be hiking solo or with a friend/group – Obviously, you’d want to have someone with you if anything undesirable were to occur, so inviting a buddy or joining a beginner’s group is top priority. Hey, you get to bond or meet new people trying something new, win-win!
Determine your starting level – “if you are a complete newb and horribly out of shape, sending yourself out on an eight hour hike through the unmapped wilderness is incredibly unintelligent,” says Nerd Fitness. We’re not out here trying to be the next Bear Grills. Start slow, and pick places around your town that will allow you to stop when necessary and get back to your car or home quickly.
Pick your hiking location – Key in Trails.com, put in your zip code, and voila, find the hiking trail for you. If you want to get a little more “insider knowledge” ask around your town or people you know who’ve gone on hikes, and you’re bound to get recommendations
Let somebody else know – Ok, if your must make hiking some form of sabbatical for you, then atleast let somebody know where you’ll be and what time you’re expected back home. While the thought is romantic that it’s just you and nature, we certainly don’t want any 127 Hours type scenario.