It is our duty to respect the nature. Although hiking is slowly becoming a national pastime, it still represents a potentially dangerous endeavor. Thru-hikes are especially dangerous due to the fact that the person is forced to fend for himself for a longer period of time, sometimes up to a year.
Because of this, you as a hiker need to take the necessary precautionary measures which will ensure that you safely reach the goal. By following these safety tips, you can protect not only yourself, but also others accompanying you.
- Get into shape
Numerous bad things can happen on the trail. Imagine being alone in the wilderness and breaking your leg. In order to survive, you will have to have presence of mind and enormous strength. Being in shape allows you to both finish the trail and adapt to unpredicted situations. Physical preparation is also very important if you are going with a group. This way, you are able to keep up the pace no matter what. Worst thing you can do is drag down the others.
- Learn more about the local animal life
Truth be told, both plants and animals can pose a danger. However, animals are much more dangerous and as such, require our undivided attention. In most cases, bears pose the biggest danger on any trail. But, in certain regions of US you may also encounter alligators. Naturally, if you go abroad, there is a chance of encountering some domestic species. Anyway, it is naturally to learn more about these animals, how to avoid them and how to act in case of an encounter.
- Pack light
Back in the day, people would carry a lot of supplies when going for hiking. As the time went by, this activity has become popular and organized. For example, most US trails have shelters where you can sleep. We have managed to reduce the risks. Subsequently, the backpacks have become smaller. When hiking, make sure to carry a light or ultralight load. Wearing too much stuff can be really dangerous and can even lead to injuries.
- Tell people where you are going
Your family will probably know that you are going for a hike. But, local trail organization also has to know that. If there is an opportunity, you should register with the local group. This is crucial for tracking your progress on the trail and intervening if an accident occurs. It is a small thing but it may save lives.
- Think about food and water
Food and water are detrimental for success of your hike. During this activity, people lose a lot of energy. Furthermore, it is to be expected that you will lose some pounds if you are going for a longer thru-hike. No matter how much you eat or drink, you will always feel empty. Make sure to filter or boil your water. You will have to rely on spring and stream water which is full of microorganisms and can be dangerous. When it comes to food, make sure to pack things that are rich in energy value. You should only carry dry food.
- Take it slowly
Most people are unrealistic before their first hike. Some of us think that you can easily conquer any trail with 2, 3 months of preparation. Hiking is very different from any sport. So, do not bite more than you can chew. Go for a shorter distance. You can easily increase it if you still feel ok after a few days.
Did we miss anything? Share your tips and suggestions in the comment section bellow!