Prepare for a hiking weekend
If you lead an inactive life, what better way to break the monotony and spend some time outdoors than on a hiking trip? Hiking offers one of the most affordable and pleasurable ways to pass the time with friends, family or alone. Also, it is good aerobic exercise that leads to weight loss, a toned body, improved circulation and endurance. However, in order to get the most out of your trip, there are some important things to consider.
Plan in advance
Know your capabilities and what risks you are prepared to take, then choose your trail accordingly. Do not plan a hike that involves rock climbing, crossing rivers or camping if you have never done these things before. Consider weather conditions, the terrain and altitudes. If they are going to be different from where you live, you would have to take steps to somehow acclimatise yourself beforehand. Are you going it alone or would you prefer the security of companions? If you are a novice, it would help to have friends who possess the skills you do not yet have.
Prepare your body
For a weekend trip, you need to be physically prepared. If you have never done this before, begin by taking short trips and gradually lengthen them until you can comfortably do a 15km hike. At this time you would most likely be carrying a light pack. Steadily increase the weight each time with drinks, snacks, books etc. until you can carry up to 25%-30% of your body weight. If you are going to be hiking uphill and on rugged terrain, some of your training should be on similar ground. Eat a balanced diet and get sufficient rest and sleep.
Prepare your mind
Mental alertness, especially if you are alone, would place you in good stead if you encounter some unexpected occurrence. How would you react if you got lost, twisted your ankle or met with some wild-life?
Let someone know exactly where you are going and where you are likely to be at any given time.
Plan to travel light
What you take with you will depend largely on where you are going and what your plans are. If you plan on camping then you will need a tent and a sleeping bag. The weather will also determine the type of clothes you pack and the boots you will wear. Cold weather will require clothes that will add to your load. Then you need food, water and some first aid supplies. Even if you didn't plan on sleeping outdoors, you should take along a flashlight, batteries, some matches, a map and a compass in case you get lost. A camera, fishing and/or hunting equipment, books and a small battery-operated radio are a few luxuries that can enhance the enjoyment of your trip.
If you prepared and trained well beforehand, it should not be a problem taking along all this stuff. The goal is to enjoy your hike and return home feeling better than you did when you left.
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