Perhaps you have decided to take the bull by the horns and become the pinnacle of physical health and fitness and have your mind set on running the half marathon this time next year? Alternatively, maybe you are looking for a recreational, outdoors pursuit that combines exercises with beautiful scenery? Either way, you simply cannot go wrong with trying hiking and here is your practical beginner’s guide.

Hiking is No Race!

If you are one of those incredibly competitive types, who always turn anything and everything into a race, then hiking may not be for you.

Like the hare and the tortoise, successful hikes resulting in emotional wellbeing and physical health at the trail’s end depend on a slow and steady approach, rather than rushing ahead of your group right from the start.

Speaking of groups, when you see a pack of wolves in the wild, when walking from one area to another, the youngest, fittest, and healthiest wolf always brings up the rear, and this team attitude should be adopted when hiking too.

Watch Your Step!

Even though this next piece of advice sounds somewhat obvious, watching where you step, especially in overgrown grasses and boggy fields, is important too. Not only is the ground uneven, meaning that you could fall into an unseen hole, you might fall into some plants that irritate the skin, or some stinging insects.

Luckily, as long as you are beginning your hiking career in this country, you are unlikely to encounter seriously deadly beasts and insects when walking off the beaten track, but there are still myriad creepy crawlies that can intensely irritate your skin.

When choosing the right brand and style of mens walking boots, make sure you also invest in proper hiking socks and waterproof linings, especially when hiking in the winter months.

The Basics of Hiking Etiquette

Next, just as with any other outdoor activity popular in a particular spot, there are a few simple, yet essential, rules of etiquette to follow. As a beginner, you need to familiarise yourself with them before your first hike.

Hiking etiquette basics include the following:

  • Only listen to music through headphones; not a speaker
  • Always patiently wait for horses to pass you before carrying on
  • Do not drop ANY litter (even natural items that will eventually decompose)
  • When someone is hiking behind you, move aside and let them pass
  • Always stay on the trail, as shortcuts will damage the natural habitat

Start Your Hike Early in the Morning

Finally, there is a certain thrill to be had when preparing to complete a hike in the early hours of the morning and watching the sun come up, but for beginner and novice hikers, it is best to begin and complete the first few hikes in the daylight.

Not only is it considerably safer to hike during the day, but starting as early as possible in the morning will also mean you will beat the crowds, certainly to the first few check-in points.

Additionally, check the weather conditions before you leave and the park’s official website for any new information.


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