Hiking is an endeavor that a person can undertake that can fill so many voids and do so many positive things for you and your body. This hobby or sport, however you want to classify it, is something that everybody should try at least once.
There is so much good in hiking, starting with the beauty and scenery only nature can provide. Taking in a nature walk or hike can do so much to revive your spirit and refresh a tired and fatigued mind. I love to get out, smell the fresh air and remind myself that all of my problems are actually very small.
A good hiking trail can put things in perspective for you. The stresses of life can become such massive worries as we allow ourselves to magnify their importance and impact on our lives. Taking in the vast and breathtaking scenery in nature can quickly put our problems back in perspective. Nature makes us feel small again and our problems seem smaller. A breath of fresh air washes away difficulties.
Getting the blood moving through the body has a profound effect on our minds and bodies as well. The heart pumps blood and oxygen through our systems reviving those beaten down organs and muscles. This also livens up the brain and gets things to firing again like they should. Take deep breaths and fill those lungs with fresh oxygen. Your mind and body will instantly perk up.
Taking on a hiking trip requires a bit of preplanning. Now, I would not say that you would have to hit every sporting goods store in town and build a pickup bed full of supplies to go on a trail hike. But, a few things are necessary for your safety as well as your enjoyment.
Hiking boots or shoes are a must. Make sure you get a good brand that fits you well. Don't buy them a half inch small to make your foot look smaller. You will regret this later. You have my word on that. You want your foot to be able to expand and breathe fully. Now it should be mostly snug, but the toes should not be jammed into the end. A good pair of hiking boots or shoes should have a good grip for traction and stable walking.
Layered clothing is another requirement if it is a bit brisk. You will not be chilly for long once you get moving. The body has this amazing method of heating itself up quite a bit as the blood starts flowing. You should be able to strip off that jacket and store it easily in a fanny pack or a small pack worn on the back.
I always take a hydration system like the ones made famous by Camel Bak. These things are very nice to have and super easy to carry. The long tube just stretches over your shoulder and is handy at all times. When hiking, do not chug down your water. Make yourself take sips every five or ten minutes or so. You should be receiving a constant supply of water. It does not hurt to drink about a quart of water before you initiate a hike as well.
I bring a few other items along to make my hiking trip a bit more enjoyable. A compact pair of binoculars is nice to have to zoom in on the scenery and wild life. I also bring along a small digital camera so I can record some of the beauty. These photos make nice background for my computer back at the house. Bring sunglasses and sunscreen if you tend to burn. A high carbohydrate snack is nice to have for a shot of energy and fuel for the body.
Get online on the Internet and do some research on some local hiking trails. There are some great hiking trail guides available online that provide a wealth of information such as location, intensity, distance and geographical terrain types. Weather can be checked as well so you don't get yourself into a nasty storm.
Many of these online guides will provide you with a free trial period before they charge anything. When the charges kick in, they are commonly insignificant; maybe just enough to make the web site owner enough money to justify his or her efforts.
Well, this wraps up your quick and hasty hiking pointer article. Remember, the idea is to enjoy nature and allow yourself to drift away. Do not take off on that trail to brainstorm about your job or problems. Let them go. I assure you; nature will not let you keep the stress for too long.
Good luck, be safe and drink lots of water.
William "Cole" Doggett is an expert in knives and is the owner of Knife & Supply Company, LLC at www.KnifeSupplyCompany.com. His website is devoted to the great outdoors, hiking, backpacking, camping, and of course, knives and knife collecting.