How to be responsible and safe when hiking during quarantine times.

Hiking…an interesting phenomenon. It’s walking, it’s climbing, it’s stopping to look at the views while you’re catching your breath, and it’s dangerous. People shouldn’t really be going out during these times. I run about four times a week, and I usually try to run on trails for many reasons, but a main one is because it is a bit safer than running on the road. But since the virus is getting a bit worse, and people have more free time, the trails are packed!

During one of my runs in the local state park, I’ve noticed how many people were hiking and I wondered how many of them “know” how to properly hike. You know, how to read the park map, follow the trail blazes, how much water you should have. Hiking things, am I right?

*I should note that I am not a professional, or a park ranger. Just an avid hiker who wants to help people not make common mistakes.*

I should also note that we should still be staying indoors and away from others. If you are going to hike, no big groups and keep some distance between you and the other person(s). But please, stay inside as much as you can.

But here are tips to avoid those rookie mistakes!

  • Check the weather. Always. Check. The. Weather.
  • Prepare for your day. If you are going for a walk in the park, you may want to bring water and not much more. But if you are going to do a longer hike, you might want to be more prepared. Water. (About 16 oz for every hour you are hiking. 5 hour hike = 80 oz of water) Snacks. Extra clothes and do not forget extra socks. Map. More snacks. First aid kit. A portable charger for your phone isn’t a bad idea either, but then again you may not get service. Always remember it is better you have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
  • Stay on the trail. At whatever park you are at, you will most likely pull up to a parking lot with information such as maps, rules, what is prohibited, and any community hikes, etc.

some may have maps at the trail head such as the one below. Telling you what trails lead to the next one. If you are unfamiliar with the park, taking a picture may be a good idea!

 

 

 

the start of trails tend to have signs that look similar to this (below)

 

The trail I was on, (above and below), was marked by white blazes. These blazes are a way to tell if you are on the right path or not.

Have a friend tag along. Sometimes it’s nice to go out for a hike by yourself, but anything can happen. You slip on a rock and hit your head. You’ll be wishing and praying you had a friend with you now. Groups of three would be ideal, so say if one does get hurt, one tends while the other can get help. But if you do go by yourself, be careful.

  • Keep all trash with you, leave it better than how you found it. Also pick it up if you see it. Don’t be a bystander.
  • What to do if you see an animal? Remember that you are in their house, you are the guest. During your hike, stay aware of your surroundings. Make noise, animals don’t want to bother you but if you are walking silently, you may surprise the animal and they could think of you as a predator. Avoid hiking during at dusk and dawn, also at night can be dangerous with some nocturnal predators such as cougars, lynx, and mountain lions.
  • Give yourself more than enough time to go back before the sunsets.
  • Have fun and get out of your comfort zone.

Also, check out https://www.alltrails.com/us for a nice, simple way to find trails near you! It will tell you the distance, elevation gain, how long it will take, what type of route it is (loop or A to B), it also leaves reviews. Highly recommend.

Thank you for reading and remember, be kind. (don't forget your facemask either)

  • Miles

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