Hiking Tips For Beginners
Hello beginning hikers! Today I hope to give you some tips for your first time up the mountain or trail. I only started seriously hiking a few years ago and have learned some tricks through trial and error. When I first started hiking with my dad it was basically, start out real early, have lots of layers and several pairs of socks and don't forget the PB&J! Today, my list is a little longer but the overriding goal is the same; to get out in nature and have fun!
Hiking Equipment and Clothes
Here are some things to contemplate before going out on a hike. Some of the things that make a great difference is whether you are wearing the right shoes and clothes for the type of hike you choose. Also you might want to read about why it is bad to wear cotton while hiking.
I devoted an entire blog post to whether cotton=death but even more fundamental is good footwear. Whether you are bushwhacking or walking on a fire road, you need shoes or boots that have good grip and good ankle support to deal with uneven terrain. Vans won't cut it, hipster dude. You don't need to get $300 Italian leather boots just to do a nature walk but get something you are comfortable mucking around in.
Additionally, do not forget to pay close attention to the kinds of socks you wear. Socks are some of the most inexpensive hiking gear and can help you have a more enjoyable experience, and help protect you from injury. The right socks will definitely help protect you from annoying blisters. Take a look at a more detailed page that covers the topic of hiking socks.
Admittedly, when I was hiking my first peaks and I saw people on the trail with hiking poles I thought, ha-ha, losers with their ski poles. Silly me, these things are great! They save on the back going up and save on the knees going down. They really CAN support you, trust me, so if you are planning on making hiking a regular thing, look into them.
You know all those stories when someone goes out to hike, only has food for a few hours and then gets mauled by a puma and has to spend a night on the mountain starving to death? That happens at least once a week so be prepared! Carry more water than you think, even though it is more weight. Carry sandwiches and I really like Cliff bars because they give you a boost of protein. Also, bring hand sanitizer or wipes. On my first hike in a long time, I get up to the summit and my hands are all pine rust and dirt from the ascent so I ate via the wrapper method.
Know Your Limits: The biggest peak in the Adirondacks is Marcy and I have heard so many people climb that for their first hike. Its 12 hours round-trip! Start off easy, little incline, nature walks. Get your legs working but not overworked. A good 'cutting your teeth' hike is around 3 miles round-trip and then off you go from there! Find Your Rhythm: Easier said than done of course. There is a whole school of thought about how fast/slow you should hike that usually involves what your sweat point is (don't be grossed out, it's the outdoors!).
Finally, as I said before, enjoy what you do. Whatever the clothing, technique or sandwiches you bring, you are outdoors because it rocks and however you enjoy it, just have fun!