Few experiences are as invigorating as spending time in the great outdoors. However, there’s more to hiking than merely finding a trail and starting to walk.
Prior to hitting the trails, make sure to check out the terrain and distance. Do not attempt hikes that are more than maybe safely accomplished in daylight. Hiking in the dark is dangerous, especially areas with unfamiliar topography.
While most hikers will carry a cell phone with them, they should note that getting a signal may be virtually impossible in some remote or mountainous areas. Therefore, it’s a good idea to plan ahead.
Leave an Itinerary
Always leave an itinerary with someone prior to hiking. It should include their location, an estimated time of completing the trip, and who to contact if necessary.
There are registers for hikers at many popular destinations. For some hikes, such as the Appalachian Trail, it’s necessary to register with the land managing services.
Hiking During Hunting Season
Some trails are in national forests where hunting is allowed in season. During hunting season it’s a good idea to wear a bright outer garment, like a jacket, vest, or cap. Be advised not to flash a white handkerchief during deer season or a red or blue one during turkey season.
Hunting is not permitted in state parks. Therefore, hikers have the choice of many excellent trails to use all through hunting season.
Packing a First-Aid Kit
No hike should be without the basic essentials of a first-aid kit and simple survival kit. The first-aid kit will depend on the hiker’s personal needs and concerns for a particular hike. However, the kit should contain at least Band-aids, gauze, a roll of adhesive tape, aspirin, and a tube of antibacterial ointment, scissors, or a Swiss Army Knife. This can be placed in a small Ziploc bag.
Longer backpacking hikes for more than one night should contain these items as well as such things as Benadryl for allergic response and a small packet of meat tenderizer for insect stings. A compact snake-bite kit that includes a suction device can also be added.
Planning Survival Kits
Survival kits should be simple and compact. Items one might pack may include a whistle, waterproof matches, a compass, a light nylon rope, and a small flashlight. High energy food bars should also be included in a survival kit.
These items are essentials and should be with the hiker at all times. Hikers should be sure to take survival kits with them on side trips when they are away from their backpack or campsite.