One of the main advantages of hiking is that, although it can be done alone, if you practice it in a group it is more fun and safe.
Group hiking helps strengthen family ties, friendship and allows you to expand your circle of friends who love hiking. There is no better way to make friends than facing paths and adventures together.
Being a non-competitive sport, as a rule all walkers help each other. This is reinforced when we face a particularly complicated path, and in fact it is recommended that you never do these routes alone.
Remember that a helping hand can be important to overcome a difficult obstacle, a sip of water can save you from dehydration, an improvised photographer can help you take the perfect snapshot or a partner can ask for help if you suffer an accident.
Some initial considerations about group hiking
Although nothing prevents you to hike alone or organize your own route for your friends, it is recommended that you hire a guide during your first outings. Do not try to burn stages until you are an advanced hiker, who needs new challenges.
The specialized guide is a person who not only knows a route perfectly, but can also give you many useful tips on hiking in general. Their job is to ensure that your experience is as satisfactory as possible, including of course the issue of safety.
Another advantage of signing up for a guided route is that these tours are usually done in large groups, so from now on you will have the opportunity to meet other hiking enthusiasts like you. From here you can pick the partners who accompany you on the routes you want to organize later.
When guided routes are not enough
Of course, as you take hiking experience, the guided routes will begin to seem uninteresting. Keep in mind that, due to the varied composition of the group traveling with a guide, the level of demand has to be adapted to the less trained person.
When you organize your own excursions instead of letting yourself be guided, you are freer to make decisions and the road then acquires another dimension. But those decisions must be intelligent and responsible.
The first step then is to choose the route you will take with your group.
This is an important decision, in which you must take into account both your physical shape and that of those who will accompany you. Again, security must prevail here: do not underestimate the path, because when you hike you are away from areas where you can get help quickly.
How to organize the correct group-hiking trail?
You must take into account the time available to the group, in order to select the route to follow without getting dark. The common thing is that the trails are completed in half a day (more or less 4 hours of walking), a day (8-9 hours of walking) or in several stages, and then you will have to keep in mind to pack everything you need to bivouac or pass the night in a shelter.
It includes factors such as the time of the year, since during the winter days are shorter. You must also keep in mind the weather conditions, since rain will delay the march and worsen the conditions of the terrain. Also consider in the schedule stops to eat, take photos, rest, etc.
It is time to define the route. Draw the objectives, whether it will be circular or round trip and define the route as such on the map.
In addition to many pleasant routes, there are sites where you can even download maps with well-defined GPS routes. The Walkaholic app can also be very useful in this regard, and in our blog we are always looking for the best routes for you.
Once the route is decided, it is time to get to know everything about it. In addition to maps and GPS coordinates, read carefully the comments of other hikers who have already done the trail.
Identify and learn about key points of the route, such as architectural elements, geodesic points of interest, restaurants, accommodation in the area, recreation or leisure areas and how to get to the starting point.
In the Walkaholic App you will also get information about points of interest for your route.
All this knowledge, together with the climatic prediction of the area will prepare you for any contingency, while the group will not miss any interesting details of the route.
Coordinate all the details with the other team members of how they will reach the starting point. It is very sad to have to wait for those who are late, or to leave them behind: when we do not meet the schedule for the route, we take the risk of get into the dark, or to walk during the warmest time of the day.
It is recommended that you consider the pace of each member of the group within the route schedule, counting for the most remote member and leaving time for unforeseen events.
A smart idea if your group must travel to the starting point from several places is to meet all the day before the route and spend the night there, to leave early the next day and take advantage of the day.
Make sure you have a checklist with all the necessary hiking equipment and accessories to enjoy your route.
Ideally, you should pass this list to the whole group so that they take appropriate precautions and can organize all the equipment. It is important that you take into account the distance of the trail and the time of the year, since each of them have special requirements.
Actually, no special permits are usually are required for hiking, but some routes run through Natural Parks or other environments where a certain amount may have to be paid, such as cable cars. If so, make sure you make reservations and that each member of the group pays his fee.
It is also convenient for everyone to carry their IDs at hand, as well as the corresponding health information if necessary and some money for emergencies.
Another important element is that everyone should carry its phone with the battery charged to ask for help at 112 in case of loss or accidents. It is also convenient for group members to share their numbers, in the event that a member separates.
With these rudiments, you can prepare and organize a group-hiking route. Of course there are many details that you will only acquire with practice.
If you are already an expert in preparing routes for groups, go ahead and leave us your advice in the comments, so that our whole community benefits from your experience. Who knows? We may soon meet and decide to walk the path together.
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