As the weather transitions from spring showers to summer sunshine, an activity that grew in popularity during the initial COVID-19 wave is once again trending as a way to get outdoors for some physical activity. Hiking is a great way to explore the outdoor environment, with a great deal of physical and mental health benefits as well. While hiking has become increasingly popular, finding information about how to hit the trails can seem like a tall task. Listed below are some tips for the newly avid hiking enthusiast as we approach some warmer weather.
Finding Your Next Hiking Adventure:
The East Coast Trail Association website has many useful pages, including information about choosing paths, trail etiquette, path advisories, and difficulty levels of various trails.
AllTrails is a popular app that lists trails and paths for hiking, running, and biking in a variety of places worldwide. There are various filters that can be used when searching for hiking trails, including accessibility features such as wheelchair- and stroller-friendly trails.
Consider buddying up!
When you grab a friend to go on the hike with you, much of the intimidation of going on a hike in the wilderness is defeated. Hitting a new trail and getting some physical activity in together can be a great experience.
Some essentials to bring with you on your hike:
A map and compass:
While technology is often considered a replacement for these classic tools, you will attain a sense of accomplishment and safety by learning how to use these tools and bringing them on your hike. When all else fails, having skills to use these tools can guide you through your adventure.
First aid kit: Mini first aid kits are a useful tool to throw in a bookbag in case of emergency.
Portable phone charger: These can help in emergency situations where phone batteries are running low.
Water: Fill your favorite reusable water bottle and bring it along with you to stay hydrated.
Survival Kit: These can often be built using some items from around your house including a lighter, flashlight, and other useful tools.
Layering for a hike:
Although the sun may be in the sky, Newfoundland and Labrador weather can be unpredictable, so it is best to plan ahead in terms of clothing layers. When considering upper body clothing, is it useful to bring multiple, non-cotton layers that can be easily removed or added on based on how warm you feel. Some non-cotton joggers or sweatpants can also be useful, as cotton often traps sweat and can cause you to become cold when the weather cools off and clothing becomes damp.
In terms of footwear, multiple pairs of socks are useful if a person steps in water or gets damp feet. It is also important to wear hiking boots or shoes with suitable grip for the desired trail. Gloves and hats are great for staying warm and are easy to remove when needed.
Lastly, consider the weather conditions and make use of sunglasses, sunscreen, and other related tools.
Respecting your path:
Some basic rules of thumb to remember on your hiking adventure include:
- Ensure your waste is properly disposed of.
- Respect wildlife and other trail users around you by keeping your distance and protecting the quality of their hiking experience.
- Leave the trail intact so that the experience of others isn’t impacted by your visit.
Whether you’re a first time hiker, or an experienced one, there are plenty of trails and paths waiting to be explored.