While the weather is warm and the outdoors pleasant, hiking is an enjoyable way to exercise and embrace the beauty of nature in Pennsylvania. Doing your research and planning is crucial for a successful hiking experience and avoiding the risks. Here are 13 hiking tips that everyone should know.
- Know your abilities. The National Park Service says it is important to choose the appropriate hike for your body and your physical limitations. “If you have asthma, diabetes, a heart condition, knee or back problems, or any other health or medical issue, limit both your exertion and your exposure to the heat. The altitude, strenuous climbing, dehydration, and intense inner canyon heat will combine to make any medical problem worse.”
- Know your trail. Research and study the map of the trail you plan on hiking before you start. That way, you will be familiar with what you are getting into.
- Know what to pack. Depending on the location and duration of the hike, pack everything you might need while keeping your bag light. Check out the American Hiking Society’s printer-friendly guide to packing for more information!
- Check the weather before going on your hike, and take supplies for any type of weather you might encounter.
- Always hike with a buddy. And let someone else know where and when you are going.
- Plan your hike so that you will not be in the dark. Starting early can prevent you from ending up in the woods at night.
- Make sure every hiker has a map and a compass. (And knows how to use them, the National Park Service says.)
- Be aware of dangerous plants. Know what not to touch!
- It’s OK to take breaks. Half of the hiking experience is enjoying the nature surrounding you. If you are feeling short of breath or tired, take a break.
- If you can talk while you are walking, you are hiking at a good pace.
- Eat often on longer hikes, and don’t force fluids. The National Park Service says you should eat a healthy breakfast and take snacks and water to fuel your body and keep it cool if you are hiking all day.
- Don’t forget a first-aid kit!
- Dress properly. The American Hiking Society has recommendations for types of clothing to wear on your hike.
Now, take a hike! Nature is calling.