The days are getting longer and the need to escape our homes and the pressures of making a living is pulling us out of our homes into the outdoors, where life is less complicated with earning a wage or finding a job, but the birds are busy making nests and finding food, the forsythia bushes are in bloom and it is time to go for a hike!
Whether you live in the city, small town or rural area, there are some common precautions to think about when hiking.
First of all, know the area you plan to hike in, dress in layers, because the weather often changes quickly and you need to be ready for rain or sunshine.
Layers keep you warmer and are easier to remove or add if you need to. One other thing to do is wear comfortable footwear; bring extra socks in case of blisters. A small first aid kit is a good idea as is water, cell phone; high energy snacks and above all, let someone know where you are going and when you plan on getting back.
Hiking alone is not the best idea; it is more fun with someone else around to share the beauty you find with. Take a lot of pictures, not native plants or rocks. If you are not in good physical condition, take time to get in shape by walking a few times around the block before tackling a trail that is more challenging. Stretching out and warming up with some simple exercises will pay off because your muscles are better able to handle the hiking trails.
There are maps available from the national park service and the local library will have guide books to check out. Many city recreation departments have guidelines as to if your pets are allowed or special restrictions due to nesting season of waterfowl or other precautions you should be aware of.
This is an area where research will pay off in knowing what to expect and something of the history of the area you are hiking. It is in the out of the way spots you can find the most memorable moments and opportunities for pictures. Hiking is a fairly inexpensive way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce the stress that we all are under from everyday life.
National park passes are inexpensive and often available for special population groups at a discount, check out the website of the state you live in, they have updated information and more ideas on enjoying hiking. Wherever you go, whatever you do, be careful and enjoy your hiking!