Remember Mike Weiss? You know, the guy after whom I named this blog, and how he led me and a few others into this stupid hike? Well, he almost killed the adventure in me that day. Almost. When I was in high school, I became friends with Jason, with whom I was to share innumerable hiking trips. He is a completely outdoorsy person, and spends more time under the stars in the open than within four walls. It was he, who rekindled the spirit of adventure in me. I must say I have enjoyed my hiking expeditions thoroughly, barring a few minor hiccups. But, what I learned during those trips is the importance of planning. Here, I will share with you what all things you should plan before you embark on hiking.
This is not swimming. Don’t jump into it right away. You have to condition yourself for hiking. Try a couple of day hikes without carrying any gear. Then give night hikes a try. This way, you know what to expect and what things you will be needing. During the first couple or so hikes, do not stray from trails. Once you feel that you have got the grasp of hiking, only then go off trail.
Chart an exact course of your hiking trip and leave the details with your family, friends and rescue authorities. Usually, Jason and I even leave the exact times of our arrival and departure at various pit stops during our hikes. If we do not make it to those checkpoints in time, our family and friends know where to look for us. Often, a phone GPS is not enough. So, make sure that you follow this advice.
Jason and I like to cook even during our hiking. We bring with us a small gas stove and enough food supplies to last us during the hikes. If the hike is longer than a couple of days, we usually buy the necessary groceries again during the middle of our hikes. Cooking ensure that you get freshly cooked, warm, and delicious food every time. Our body’s nutritional requirement is easy to meet if we cook a variety of foods rather than limiting ourselves to a few canned foods.
We have a checklist of equipment divided into 3 sections – Critical, Long Hikes, and Special Equipment as per the hike type. The critical ones are a must, no matter which type of hiking we go to. For instance, a sturdy and comfortable pair of hiking boots, three layers of clothes – a water soaking layer, an insulating layer, and waterproof clothes, maps, compass, knife and so on are critical equipment for every hiking. For long hikes we carry cooking equipment, sunscreen, extra batteries for the torch, and so on. Then comes the special equipment such as snow boots, swimming shorts, and other things as per the need of the respective hiking trip. Make a similar list and do not forget to pack the things from the relevant lists as you go on hiking.
The best way to ensure safety during hiking trips is to stick to schedules, or in the least, let your friends and family know about any changes in your schedules. They are the ones who will spring into action if you face any problem during your hiking.