Once you’ve decided that you want to go out and pursue your first hike, the world really does become your oyster. You’ll have so many decisions to make, so many choices to consider, and so many options to peruse, that it can be really overwhelming and leave you feeling like you don’t even know where you should begin.
Before you begin to feel bogged down by the enormity of the task before you, remember to breathe.
This adventure you’re planning is going to be a ton of fun.
It’s going to be eye-opening.
It’s going to be challenging for sure, at least at some part.
And it’ll also be life-changing, potentially, if you let it.
Before you bag your bags and say good riddance to your comfort zone, it’ll be helpful to have some hiking tips for beginners to help you make your first hike successful, a loose guideline that outlines some things you ought to consider before leaving and some decisions you may need to make on the fly when you’re hiking.
Some suggestions to help you make your first successful hike include the following:
Have a conversation with yourself before you go
This may sound a little weird on paper, but before you leave for your amazing hike, sit down and have a conversation with yourself:
What is it that you’re hoping to achieve by going on a hike?
What type of experience do you want to have?
Answering these questions for yourself can help guide the direction that your hike will take and will help to inform the research that you do in your planning process.
Research, research, and research
Once you know exactly what it is that you want to get out of your hiking experience and the type of experience that you’d like to have, you can begin your research. Scour everything you can find online and in your local libraries; talk to other hikers and solicit their input; do as much information-gathering as you can so you can make a fully-informed decision.
You’ll want to consider how big or long a hike you want to take — many days? One long day? One short day? And so on) — and also whether you’d like to do it by yourself or with other people. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything, so consider your options vis-a-vis your goals and expectations for your hike.
Book anything you need to book as early as possible
Once you’ve completed the research- and information-gathering stages of your hike planning process, be sure to book anything that you need to book as early as possible. If you’re going to be hiking for many days at a time and stopping along the way at area lodging, it’ll behoove you to get those accommodations nailed down now, while you still have the option to and while they still have availability.
You also may want to find out whether the lodging options have cancellation policies, too, in case you need to reschedule your arrangements or back out of them altogether.
It’s okay – and is to be expected – to be surprised when you go out on a hike, but one surprise you definitely don’t want is to be saddled with a big financial burden!
When you’re hiking, how you pack will directly depend on the type of hike that you do. That said, more likely than not, you’ll be carrying all of your provisions on your person at any given time, so you probably don’t want to include anything more than you absolutely must.
It may behoove you to pack days before your hike begins so you can try out all your gear and practice hiking with it, just to see how it fares, how heavy it is, and how easy or cumbersome it’ll be for you to carry for hours on end.
Go in with an open mind
Finally, despite all the preparation and research that you do before you begin your first hike, it’ll be imperative that you enter into your adventure with a good attitude, a lot of flexibility, and an open mind. It’ll be highly likely that not everything will go smoothly, and while you can’t control some variables to your adventure, one variable that you will be able to control is your attitude and how you react to your changing circumstances.
Hiking can be an emotional experience – and that’s ok! – but it’s also important that you don’t let your emotions get the best of you because it’s also a very physically demanding endeavor. Keep an even keel, a good attitude, and a positive mental outlook, and the world will be yours for the taking.
Taken together, these hiking for beginners tips can help you have the trip of a lifetime and one that you’ll cherish forever. There really is no time like your first, so go out there and enjoy it!