Hiking is a wonderful hobby for millions of people. It is great exercise and allows you to train yourself in the art of perseverance in the wild. The effect is a healthy mind and body. In order to enjoy hiking, you must be prepared. Going hiking unprepared is an invitation for disaster.
• Know the area. Invest in maps of the area. Look at the terrain and know how far you will be going each day. Allow someone to know the route you plan to take and the estimated time of arrival and return. Have a back-up plan in the event that nature deals you a wild card.
• Protect your feet. This is probably the most important thing you can do if you are hiking. You must protect your feet from blisters, cuts, water, bugs and snakes.
o Wear two pair of socks. A soft cotton sock should be worn next to the skin and a wool sock over the cotton sock. This cushions the feet and protects them from blisters which is a common problem.
o Waterproof your boots. Wet boots and hiking do not go well together. This leads to foot fungus, burning and could lead to infection. A good pair of leather boots is a necessity and waterproofing them is essential.
o Take a pair of sandals or an old pair of slip on sneakers to wear at the camp. This allows you comfort time to rest from wearing the boots. It allows your feet and boots to dry out and allows any areas of the foot that were sore to heal a bit.
• Warm clothes
o Make sure you have warm clothes for wearing at night.
o A light jacket can be rolled up for use in the afternoon
o Carry bottled water with you as well as water purifier tablets. Water may not always be available in the wild. Make sure you have enough and drink plenty while hiking. Dehydration is deadly. Figure your hours away from the site and allow yourself to sip up to 6 ounces of water every four hours.
• Prepare your body
o Stretch your muscles before beginning your hike
o Muscles infection can be controlled with ibuprofen.
o Add dried blueberry's to your trail mix as a natural solution.
• What to take in your backpack
o First aid kit
o Tissue and or toilet paper
o Hand sanitizer
o Flashlight and extra batteries
o Maps of area
o Emergency phone numbers in case someone has to help you
o Bug spray
o Trail mix and water
o Emergency blanket
o Light weight emergency rope
These things can be kept in your backpack and ready to go. All you need to is toss in some trail mix and water and you can be out the door in minutes.