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Hiking The Trails: Ten easy tips

9 Apr. 2013 Posted by Hannah Mich
10 hiking tips, hiking tips, hiking, hiking know hows, hiking excursions, New Mexico, hiking in New Mexico, hiking and hydration, hiking shoes, preparing for a hike

Last week, I dusted off my spring and summer gear and went for some challenging hikes in the beautiful Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico area. I can tell you that my summer gear and clothes were not the only places that seemed to be dusty. My lungs and joints were a little "dusty" from the long Chicago winter, too. It was my first time to New Mexico and I welcomed the warmer temperatures with open arms and fell in love with the landscape. Although the ultra dry climate and altitude, took some getting use to. It was also amazing to feel the sun on my bare skin while I hiked the rocky terrain and explored the dwellings of Native Americans.

In light of my recent hiking adventure, I thought it only fitting that I write a blog that included 10 easy hiking tips. So here goes,

1) Bring water . Seems like common sense, right? However, you would be surprised at how many people we passed with no water, or people who drastically underestimated how much water they may need. I would recommend bringing 1 to 2 liters of water, depending on the length of the hike.

2) Bring a snack or light lunch . Granola bars and power bars are easy picks for a snack. However, a homemade trail mix of nuts and dried fruit, peanut butter sandwich, or homemade granola are just as nutritious and are a little more frugal. Try out our homemade granola recipe here.

3) Protection from the sun . If you are starting early in the morning, the sun may feel like your best friend. However, as it approaches mid-day the sun can become one of your worst enemies. Bring a hat, a light jacket or long-sleeved shirt, sunglasses, lip balm and sunscreen.

4) Proper hiking shoes . I watched a great many people slip and even fall while hiking on my trip. Wear shoes that are comfortable, have good traction, and provide support for your arch and ankle.

5) Stay on trails . Stay on designated trails and always bring a map that most national and state parks provide. Staying on trails ensures you will not get lost and it prevents damage, such as erosion, to the environment that you are enjoying.

6) Hike with a friend . Hiking with a friend or in a small group is usually the best way to go. It not only makes the hiking trip safer for you all, but you get to share the experience with someone. If you do decide to go for a hike alone, make sure you let someone know where and when you will be hiking.

7) Prepare . Planning ahead will likely make your hiking experience more enjoyable. Exercising will prepare your heart, lungs and muscles for hiking, making it less exhausting. Check out the trails on-line (distance, terrain, and scenery) before you head to the nearby park to ensure you pick the right trail for you.

8) Weather Forecast . Yes, this is part of preparing ahead, but I felt it was important enough to make its own tip. Always check the weather before you go for a hike. If you are hiking in a canyon or up in the mountains it is amazing how fast the weather can change. And what may seem like just a little shower could cause flash flooding in a valley or canyon, or high winds up in higher altitude.

9) Keep it light . Although I mentioned a handful of items to have on you when you go hiking, it is best to keep your backpack as light as possible. This will make hiking less strenuous and more enjoyable.

10) Stretch as you go . Taking short breaks to do a little stretching will keep you loose and limber. Stretch your arms behind you, bend down and touch your toes, lunge forward stretching your thighs and hip flexors.

Lastly, enjoy the scenery. We are a nation of "getting where we need to go" as fast as possible. This does not apply with hiking. Although you may be hiking to a scenic lookout, there will also be lots to see on your way there. So pace yourself and enjoy the hike.

If you haven't started planning a hiking adventure for this year, there is no better time than now! And feel free to post your hiking questions, experiences and additional tips below.


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