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What You Need To Know Before Heading Out For a Hike

Updated on October 12, 2008

Fall is the perfect time of year to get outdoors and enjoy nature. The leaves are beautiful and the weather is perfect. Hiking is a great way to enjoy this time of year and all it has to offer. It can typically be done for free, which makes it even better. You can head out for the day or for an hour. Take a picnic lunch or your fishing pole. However you decide to do it is fine, just make sure you do.

Before you head out hiking though, you need to get prepared. It doesn't take much, so don't get scared off now. The first thing you need to do is check the weather. Fall is also the time of year when the weather can change quickly, especially if you are hiking in the mountains. If you can look at trail maps online, it will help you prepare as well. You need to know what to expect and where exactly to go.

Now that you know what to wear (don't forget a jacket and/or poncho) and where to go (bring a map if you can), you need to decide how long you are going to be gone and bring an appropriate amount of food and water. And then bring some extra. Hiking uses energy and you want to have some food and water on hand. Especially if you get lost. I talked to a woman just last week that got completely lost on a loop type of trail and couldn't figure out the way out. After going around the loop three times and four hours later, they finally spotted a small horse trail that led them out. They were scared, tired, hungry and very thirsty. Even if you are just going for an hour, be prepared.

You will obviously need something to carry things in, we use a couple of different packs. We use a camel back to hold water, but it also has some pockets that will hold things like granola bars, wipes, bandaids, diapers if you have young children, the map and other things. You might want to consider bringing sunscreen, hats, and kleenex too. It really all depends on how long you are going to be gone. For shorter hikes we will take just a fanny pack that holds two water bottles and has a zippered pocket in between. When we go on long hikes, we take both of these packs. A small back pack will work well too; again you don't have to go buy something fancy.

Wear the correct shoes. You don't need fancy hiking boots for most trails, but you really don't want to head out in flip flops or heels. Tennis shoes work well for most things. If you are an experienced hiker you do probably have hiking boots and it can't hurt to wear them.

The most important thing you need to do when going for a hike, especially if you are heading out alone, is to tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone. If you have a cell phone, bring it and make sure it is charged. Hiking is a wonderful outdoor activity that will help you get away from the business of life and enjoy nature. Be prepared and then enjoy your time away.


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      Yvonne Mcdonough 9 years ago

      Lovely hub, i love walking, and i actually walk to shops, as much as i can, as for hiking need someone thats up for it though lol i dont know anyone that likes walking as much as me

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Jennifer, great hub! I like hiking, and I have access to real woods to hike in. However, they don't look at all like that picture you have posted. There's underbrush, and stuff growing everywhere and ticks and fleas. That hiking trail you have posted looks as if it was prepared for the public, to make things easy. Any tips for hiking in real forests?

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 9 years ago from Jaipur

      When should we go?