Set Up for Hiking Success
Safety tips for a positively fun hiking experienceBy Rue Reynold
Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com
Crisp air, cool weather and warm sunlight are the perfect recipe for a good ol’ outdoor adventure on one of North Carolina’s many beautiful trails. As with many journeys, it’s important to be safe and be prepared, so here are five essential tips to help you have an unforgettable trail experience.
Hike smarter, not harder
Hiking smarter means to not overdo it or challenge yourself beyond your limits. Whether traditional or a screenshot, always have a map with you, and never hike in dangerous weather conditions. Pick a trail based on your level of fitness and abilities, and gradually increase the difficulty as you improve and gain stamina.
Fuel before you go
Eating before your journey is an absolute must, especially if your chosen trail holds challenging obstacles along the way, such as climbing or crossing slippery surfaces. Bring snacks and stay hydrated before, during and after a hike.
Safety in numbers
Whether it’s challenging terrain, a sudden weather change or an uncomfortably empty area, anything can happen at any time, so it’s best to bring a friend. If you can’t have someone with you, try to hike on popular trails to up the chances of someone passing by if you ever need help. Remember to always let someone know where you’re going, who’s with you and when you expect to be back.
Pack the necessities
A gold-winning hiking bag includes food, water, a first aid kit, appropriate hiking footwear and clothing for protection against different elements. If a pet accompanies you, be sure to pack pet food, water, treats and have them on a six-foot leash and harness.
Keep our trails safe and pure by respecting the area and wildlife that lives there. Dispose of trash responsibly, keep your distance from wildlife, and do not take souvenirs from the wild, such as rocks or flowers. Learn more about preserving natural areas using the Leave No Trace principles in our feature, “Enjoy Nature and Leave No Trace.”
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