For me I need four things for it to a perfect hike. Number one great boots, they are expensive but if you enjoy hiking and trying different terains and new areas and regardless if it`s rain or shine, you need really good hiking boots. Secondly comfortable clothes, loosing fitting, but not baggy, coton is good since its breathes and layers so you can add or remove. Thirdly water and sports drink with electrolytes. One time , I kind of was stuck with no water and no drink in the summer and got a sun stroke and was dehyrdrated, almost hospitalized so always drink lots before and druing and after. Lastly a map,a compass and a cell phone.The last thing you want is to get lost or hurt and not be able to get help. Other option include a closed course, a friend to go hiking with, sunny weather (although if I feel like a hike in the rain I go, unless it`s a thunderstorm), a regular course you know like the back of your hand, good fiber filled snacks. It really depends on what you know and what you like. Now for the actual hiking, it is a great exercise, so some stretching first can`t hurt. I always do a little warm up, I like tracks that are at a moderate incline. I am not a big mountain climber hence why I strickly like mountain hiking on trails and courses, designed to be challenging but at an enjoyable pace, being able to talk to my friends is important and being able to enjoy the sounds and beauty of nature are reasons that will always keep me hiking! One last little tidbit, this is from a bad experience, know what "bad" plants look like, poisin ivy, really really sucks!
babiesbreath gave great advice. But, please take a small survival kit with you every time you go hiking. About 7,000 people get lost in our National Parks every year and 41% reported as "hiking." I've written a hub to help decide what to include without weighing you down and killing the fun of the hike. Enjoy your hikes and stay safe.
I agree with babiesbreath but there is one more important thing....
Always tell someone where you are going in case something happens and you are lost and unable to call for help. And one more thing is a small whistle. Most hiking backpacks these days have a whistle molded right into the plastic of the clips.
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