Hiking is a great focus and destress exercise, but unlike some other sports, has a unique set of challenges and hazards. Here are some basic hiking tips and skills that anyone walking the trails should know.
Useful Hiking Things to Know:
- Hiking sticks: Great for stabilizing yourself when going over rough terrain, and unloading some of the hiking work to your arms. They’re especially useful for hiking uphill, keeping your hands elevated so they don’t swell, knocking down spiderwebs on the path, and fighting off grizzly bears 🙂
- Stream & creek wading: If you have to cross a body of water, look for the opportune place. The widest part of the stream will also be the shallowest. Toss a stick into the water first and see how fast it floats away to gauge the speed of the current. As a rule of thumb, slow-moving water should be no higher than mid-thigh, and fast-moving water should stay below the knee. This would also be a good time to use hiking sticks.
- Ticks: Avoid ticks by always wearing long pants, some sort of long-sleeved undershirt, and tucking your shirt-waist into your pants. If you do find yourself accompanied by a tick, remove it by grasping the tick’s body with a pair of sterilized tweezers and applying constant upward pressure. Do not twist or squeeze the tick.
- If you get lost: There are a few actions you can take if you find yourself lost, ranging from effective to not-so-effective depending on your specific situation. You can try your cell phone, blow a whistle, follow a body of water, head for a tall landmark, or re-trace your steps. However, the safest method is also the most frustrating: Stop, stay where you are, and wait to be found.
- Plants to avoid: