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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Always wanted to experience the great outdoors, but are afraid that you will be caught unprepared? Learn how be Prepared for a Hike.

Enlist a friend to hike with you. Someone who likes hiking and is good company is a good choice.
Choose where to hike. Consider the following when choosing: natural views and landscape, accessibility, the availability of marked hiking trails, the length of the hike based on your personal experience and ability. Consider the terrain of the area as well. Hills and mountains are beautiful but even a short steep hike can be too challenging.
Pack plenty of water. Even if you plan to hike for just a couple of hours, you do not want to run the risk of becoming dehydrated. Plan 1 L per person per hour of hiking.
Wear supportive, closed footwear and comfortable socks. Hiking boots are best. If you do not have boots, wear comfortable shoes with thick supportive soles.
Wear comfortable clothes in layers that you can remove or add as needed. If you are hiking in an area where the weather is changeable, pack rain gear.
Wear a hat and sunscreen. Pack additional sunscreen.
Somewhere along the trail you will probably get hungry, so you should pack something like GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts). GORP doesn't have to be raisins and peanuts. Cherries, almonds, M&Ms, walnuts, cranberries, and peanut butter chips are all good. Anything non-perishable and bite-sized will do. If you are eating a meal on the trail, pack light, and as spill-free as possible. Sandwiches, bite-sized vegetables, fruit leather, and apples are also good trail food. Pack a small bag to contain any trash that you make...do not leave any trash on the trail.
Let someone know that you are hiking, where, and how long you expect to hike. Tell them you will check in with them when you return. Then check in with that person when you return. Just in case anything goes wrong (for example, you get lost), that person will know where to look for you, or know to contact help if you do not return as expected.
Pack a cell phone.
Pack basic first aid supplies, including bandages, tweezers, and antiseptic wipes.
Pack your camera.

Here are some tips:
Always pack enough water! If you hike a lot, invest in a few Nalgene bottles for water.
A sturdy backpack with a stomach strap is good to carry everything in.
Remember the golden rule of hiking: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.
Always hike with a buddy!


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