Hiking and trekking are great ways to keep fit and enjoy the beautiful countryside. Hiking involves climbing mountains and hills, while trekking is usually walking over a relatively long distance over a flat surface. Whether you prefer trekking or hiking, you still improve your fitness levels and get to breathe some fresh air.
Mountain hiking makes for an interesting addition to your bucket list and is one of the best ways to build your endurance. To get the best hiking experience however you need to plan well in advance and be properly prepared.
Follow these hiking tips for a memorable experience in the mountains.
Check and be prepared for the weather
No matter where you are hiking, the weather will affect how easy or difficult your hiking experience will be. Geographically speaking, the higher the altitude, the lower the temperatures. This means the mountain regions experience lower temperatures than more flat regions.
You need to plan your hiking trip around the relatively dry seasons. While it is still possible to hike most mountains even during the rainy season, the rocks will definitely be more slippery aggravating the risk of a slip and fall which may result in injuries. The access paths and roads may also be muddy making climbing the mountain all the more difficult. Rainfall has the advantage though of keeping the temperatures lower.
Adequate and proper clothing and footwear
The mountain slopes can be extremely hot during the day and extremely cold during the night depending on the season in which you are taking your hike. It will, therefore, be prudent of you to pack a good mix of heavy and light clothes. Ideally, these clothes should be made of tough materials as the mountain bushes can easily tear your clothes.
While you need to pack all the essential items, care should be taken to not make your luggage too bulky and cumbersome to carry around.
You also need to have the appropriate footwear. You may need a mix of both light sports shoes for the light terrain and heavy boots for the rocky terrains. You can check out ShoesCast.com for the right footwear for your various hiking needs.
Maps and equipment
You need maps to show you the mountain topography and access roads. Better still, you can make plans with a local guide to accompany you on your hiking trip. It is also important to have a downloadable copy of Google Maps on your phone. This does not, however, replace the need for a physical map or a guide, because your phone might die, and the last thing you want is to get lost in the mountains. It is also advised to pack a torch, a whistle, batteries, pocket knife and a pair of binoculars. You may also need a camera and an extra pack of rechargeable batteries if this applies.
You want to return from your hiking experience in the mountains in one piece. This is why one essential hiking tip is to go hiking as a team. You should at least have one companion.
You also need to be prepared to deal with altitude sickness and insect bites. Have an insect repellent with you; another essential item is a first aid kit. This will help should any of you have minor cuts and bruises. If the altitude sickness is mild, you can take some rest and ascend the mountain at a much slower pace than you initially were.