Our very own Katie Magee is not only an experienced globetrotter, but also a world-class hiker! From the Pisgah National Forest right in our backyard, to Machu Picchu atop the Andes Mountains in Peru, Katie has certainly learned a thing or two about enjoying the great outdoors. So, as the weather is warming up and we’re all looking to get outside more, we sat down with Katie for some helpful hiking tips. Read through them, put ’em to good use, and get outside!
Always carry water with you anytime you head into the backcountry. Water has the ability to make or break an outdoor experience. How much water should you bring? As a starting point, REI (yes, that REI) suggests half a liter of water per person per hour, though you may need to increase that amount for more strenuous hikes and/or in more challenging weather.
If you are hiking through mountainous terrain (similar to camp), or if your hike will likely include some slippery/wet conditions, make sure you choose appropriate footwear. Being out in the wilderness and suffering an ankle/foot injury could have serious repercussions. How would you get out if you are unable to walk? If you are with others (and you should be with others!) they might have to carry you, which could be a stress on them. So, think of your hiking pals, wear proper footwear, and protect those things that keep you moving!
It is never a good idea to head into the woods blind - and by that I mean not having a clue as to where you are going. Get familiar with the area before you head out. Know the start and end of nearby trails. And bring the map with you on your hike, just in case you need an emergency exit. Also, now might be a good time to brush up on your map-reading skills (especially those pesky topographic maps!)
How else would you carry all these goodies you need? Bring a small day pack (about 20-25L for a day hike), to carry your water, food, map, first-aid kit, and a change of clothes (a MUST-HAVE if you plan to enjoy a swimming hole along the way).
So, there you have it! Four quick tips from our hiking guru on how to safely enjoy this hiking season!