Hiking has become one of the favorite sports for people of all ages and around the world. Its health benefits are well known: it helps improve fitness because it strengthens the muscles and increases endurance, and also offers to the mind the possibility of relaxing and being carried away by the beauty and tranquility of the natural landscape.
However, there are aspects to keep in mind to make the route a pleasant experience. It is necessary to be prudent, respectful and be prepared for contingencies that may arise along the way.
Responsibility and common sense must walk with you, since natural environments can be hazardous. Therefore, from Walkaholic, we advise you some basic precautions that you should take so that your promenade does not end badly.
The route and weather
Although hiking can be done alone, there is always the risk of accidents. Even to the most advanced walker the terrain can play tricks on, and a simple twist can delay you so much that the night takes you by surprise.
The ideal is to travel in triplets, because if an accident occurs one can go for help while the other stays with the injured hiker. Also make sure someone at home knows exactly where you are, so they can ask for help if you don’t come back in a reasonable time.
Before leaving the road, thoroughly analyze the selected route. It is necessary to be realistic and choose a trail that fits our physical form and experience. If you are accompanied, especially if you are carrying children or older, the route must be suitable for them.
We must know in advance the time it takes to travel our route and calculate a little more to ensure that we are not surprised by the night before reaching our goal. You must travel by day and trying to anticipate any situation when making the backpack and taking a medic kit with you, which should never be left at home.
Also, learn about the terrain you are going to face: if there is snow or steep places, if we have to cross a stream and what kind of animals you can find, etc.
We must be aware of the climatic conditions in the path we have chosen. If it is an area where rain or snow abounds, they are dangerous because they cause landslides. It is also important to know the level of solar radiation and the temperature at which we are exposed to select clothing according to this.
Even so, there will be events that you cannot foresee, such as thunderstorms and changes in the wind that can hinder progress and visibility, so you have to be cautious and be prepared.
The clothes and footwear we carry and the contents of the backpack are fundamental to the success of a route. In the case of clothing, it is suggested to wear the appropriate ones according to the time of the year, taking into account also the possible changes in temperature and rainfall.
Footwear should be suitable, if possible a hiking boot with thick non-slip sole, which supports the ankle and waterproof fabric. Also wear hiking socks according to the season of the year.
The preparation of the backpack is essential and you should try not to forget the fundamental objects that we may need, such as water, food, the mobile with a charged battery, energy bars, sunscreen, thermal blanket, a flashlight, a whistle, a multipurpose knife, rope, a change of extra clothes, a raincoat, the first aid kit… and a couple of large plastic bags, to collect your garbage and not pollute the environment.
Walking the trail…
· If at the beginning of the day you feel unwell, do not go for a walk. The idea is to have a good time, and if health does not accompany you, you will have a bad time and delay the rest of the group.
· Always adapt to the pace of the slowest person. Never leave anyone behind.
· Hydration is very important. You must bring not less than 2 liters of water for each day, and drink small sips every 25 minutes. Never drink from non-potable water sources: you are most likely to get sick, unless you bring a bottle with a built-in filter.
· Remember to take a topographic map with you, because the path signs are not perfect and you can get lost if you don’t have landmarks. A variant is the Walkaholic application, in which you can not only have the route map but also track your GPS position.
· In addition to nature, respect private property. Some trails run through agricultural areas, but that does not mean that you can trample the sown fields or take the fruits.
· Similarly, do not disturb any animal. Either farm or wild.
Respect and care for the environment
Nature belongs to everyone and we belong to it, so we must respect and take care of it so that we and our future generations can enjoy it. When you practice hiking, be responsible and careful: it is a personal commitment that you must convey to those who accompany you so that everyone can do their share.
When you are on route do not make too much noise or shout for pleasure: you can disturb other walkers and animals that are in natural habitat that you visit.
You are a guest, so behave politely: collect your garbage and leave it where it is allowed. If you find waste from previous visitors do not leave them there: collect them with yours to contribute to a clean environment.
Waste to be collected also includes organic litter, such as fruit mounts and food scraps. Although they degrade, they make ugly the path and can attract dangerous animals to the route.
Do not cut branches or plants, or mark trees. Respect the animals and do not harm them, if you do not attack or annoy them they should not attack you. Remember that they are territorial and it is you who are at their home, so be prudent.
First of all, use prudence and common sense when you go hiking, as there are always risks. And be supportive if you run into a walker in trouble, because we walkers are a big family.
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