Monday, January 31, 2011

Top 10 Beginner Hiking Tips

1. Just do it.
    The largest hurdle in hiking is simply finding the time to break away and go hiking. Set aside a time once a week, or once a day to visit the park or forest.

2. Find a partner.
    Partners can help keep you motivated if you chose wisely. It's also safer to travel the wilderness in pairs.

3. Wear the proper shoes.
    For the beginning hiker, shoes are the most important piece of gear. Don't even think about taking flip-flops. Trail running shoes, ankle supporting boots, and full hiking boots are good. If you're just going to be going out in fair weather not carrying a pack, there's really nothing wrong with a normal pair of tennis shoes.

4. Go somewhere new.
    It gets boring to continually tread the same paths, explore state and national parks as well as local and county parks.

5. Get some exercise.
    Try trail running or cross country skiing if you're looking to get in more of a workout while you're on the trail.

6. Take the dog.
    Take the dog... need I say more? Try one of the awesome Granite Gear Flyers (frisbee) for your beloved four legged friend.

7. Track your progress.
    Share your hiking prowess with others using Endomondo, or Google's My Tracks for your Android smart phone. Track your progress yourself with a GPS, or use a SPOT Satellite Messenger to track and keep you safe. You have to purchase an additional package to track yourself on the trails using SPOT, but it will upload automatically to a web page where family and friends can watch your progress. Find it here.

8. Take a class.
    Most universities have an outdoor club or college. Usually they offer classes such as backpacking 101 and introduction winter sports classes. This would be a good way to get your feet wet so to speak in the outdoor sports and recreation world. Contact your local university to see if they offer community classes in outdoor recreation.

9. Wilderness First Aid.
    The American Red Cross offers Wilderness First Aid classes on a regular basis. Contact your local chapter to sign up for a cheap and lifesaving class.

10. Take it slow at first.
    There's no limit to how far you can go in the outdoor recreation world. But if you've never been hiking before, take it easy at first. Find flat terrain, short trails, and well marked blazes. Read other hiking articles around the net and get out there and try it!


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