17 May Top 5 biggest mistakes hikers make
1. Underestimating a Trail
All trails can be dangerous! Don’t underestimate the potential dangers that you may run into such as: natural disasters, wildlife, and/or dangerous terrains. I know sometimes we think, ‘Oh, it’s just 3 miles, can’t be that hard.’ Or “It’s so close to my house!” Distance, location or the fact that a friend hiked it years ago doesn’t mean the trail is easy!
2. Overestimating Your Strength
It’s important for you to know your limits. It can be dangerous to push yourself too far, especially when hiking. Whether it’s a high elevation or a long hike, know when it’s times to turn back if needed. The mountain and trails will always be there! While reaching peaks and summits can be rewarding, coming back home (in one piece) is the priority.
If you couldn’t reach your destination, whether it’s because you’ve underestimated the trial or overestimated your strength, see what went wrong. How can you change it to be successful next time? This is how you can become an expert.
3. Not Researching About the Trail
It’s important to research a trail before embarking on the hike. Google has information on every hike. Screenshot them so you have access to them while you’re in a no service zone. There are also hiking apps, like All Trails, that you can download to help research a trail. Things to look up: trailhead location, trail condition, distance, elevation, and weather. Most trails have a GPX map. What I normally do is first download GPX app, then google search the “GPX file” of the trail you want to hike. Most bloggers have given you access to that for free. Once you’ve downloaded the trail, you can follow it on the GPX app. Have a visual of your destination before you start so you know what to look for when on the trail.
4. Hiking Alone
This can be a HOT topic. I know so many people that hike alone and they’re ok with it. I myself have also, but here’s my take on it. The truth is people who hike alone risk putting themselves in a dangerous situation with no one to help. If something were to happen, the chance of survival significantly decreases when you’re alone. Plus, it’s so much more fun to have a hiking buddy. If you absolutely want to hike and you can’t find a buddy, the best places to hike alone are popular trails. If you do need help, there are hikers there to assist you.
5. Hiking Unprepared
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen hikers carry nothing with them. I’ve used my first aid kit on other hikers more than I’ve used it for myself. Even when hiking a short trail or a heavily populated trail, it’s important to go prepared! Bring plenty of water, food, sunscreen, and other additional items in case of an emergency. We hear it all the time, “Have your 10 essentials with you!” What are they?
Stay tuned for the next blog in a few weeks. I talk all about the 10 essentials, what they are and how you can remember them!