How do you get to know the nature of the land, to feel the pine scent laden breeze on your face, to walk the contours of the hills? By Hiking ! Once you get to that perfect campsite or to that amazing National Park, do yourself a favor and get past the crowded turnouts and hike into the nature.
FINDING A HIKE
If you are traveling to a National or State Park, the first place to start is by exploring the Park’s website. With a National Park, look under Plan Your Visit > Things to Do > Hiking (or Walking). With the State Parks search under the individual Parks website. Another excellent method is to talk to the Park Rangers for a recommendation based upon your skill and fitness level, time available and your ability. Please make sure, however, to set the level of adventure to the slowest or least fit individual !
An alternative method of finding excellent hikes, although a bit more involved, is to search some of the many internet hiking websites based upon your intended area of travel. Some of our favorites are-
WHAT TO BRING
Now that you have the perfect hike scoped out, what should you bring? From the Seattle based organization, The Mountaineers, what follows are their suggested items to carry while hiking or backpacking –
- Navigation (map and compass)
- Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
- Insulation (extra clothing)
- Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
- First-aid supplies
- Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
- Repair kit and tools
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (extra water)
- Emergency shelter
Lastly, a day pack to carry it all in. Your local sporting goods store can help you out with each of the items and with careful selection add very little weight to your pack but adds much peace of mind!