MAKING GOOD DECISIONS WHILE HIKING 🧐
This blog is mostly for new/beginner Hikers but even intermediate Hikers might get some info from it. There is a difference between “Hiking” and Walking your city's local nature trail. The local trail while usually pretty and most times paved doesn't have the hazards inherent to actual Hiking. Your city officials aren't going to allow you to walk along a dangerous pathway because they don't want to get sued. In the forest, mother nature doesn't care. You are just another animal in the woods. It's up to you to make your trip safe and fun. As always, be sure you have the right shoe/boots to protect your feet and ankles from slips and twists. Do your own research, go to your favorite Outdoor Equipment store and try on several pairs to decide which is best for YOU. Just because some “guy” on the internet said this brand or that brand is good doesn't necessarily make it appropriate for you. My rule of thumb is buy them one size larger so you can wear thick socks. I usually wear thick wool socks to protect my feet while shifting around inside the boots. Do your research and Don't make a bad decision.
Find a good pack that suits the type of Hiking you will be doing. It doesn't have to be high dollar name brand just well made with enough room for some necessary tools/equipment. Mother Nature doesn't give a flying fling at a doughnut about the name on your pack. She's gonna lump you in with every other animal out there trying to survive. Just get the size that best suits your needs. Don't make a bad decision.
While on your Hike ( if you are following a man made Hiking Trail) you may have the urge to go off-Trail to admire some rock structure or babbling brook. Just make sure you keep the trail within eye shot so you can find it when the Kodak moment is over and you are ready to progress back down the trail. If necessary you can build a cairn to mark where you left the trail. A cairn is a highly visible stack of rocks that can be seen from a distance. Sherpas have used this method to mark trails up Mt Everest for hundreds of years and it really works. Make the decision before you leave the Trail “I am going a ways over there and I might need a marker to locate the Trail when I come back.” Don't make a bad decision.
Hikers are not spelunkers. Hikers Walk on top of the Earth and enjoy the beauty there. Spelunkers crawl under the Earth to discover whatever muddy mess that we are able to bypass by staying on the surface. If you should come across a cave by all means enjoy it. Take your flashlight and look inside. Who knows it may be the den of Sasquatch. Then you'll have a doozy of a story to tell this evening over the camp fire. You might want to take a step inside. Again, probably a non-issue. Get your pics and get out. Most all caves in our are are closed to people because of a fungus that can be given to bats via people (white nose syndrome) so don't go in and unknowingly transmit a disease to these little guys. Just stay out. Hikers and Spelunkers require completely different equipment and as a Hiker you are not equipped to take this path. Don't make a bad decision.
Traversing hill sides. My arch nemesis. Where I live and hike mostly, there is an abundance of loose rocks about the size of grapefruits that are hidden under years of leaf litter. As you walk across the hillsides these little ba***rds tend to roll out from under you. So you take one step forward and roll one step down the hill. It's best to stop for a minute and take a look at the hillside you are about to traverse and see what's available. Maybe a game trail that is well traveled. Maybe a small rock ledge that acts as a natural sidewalk. Rolling rocks create rolling ankles. Who knows, if you completely loose balance you might just roll all the way to the bottom of the hill. Bad news for a Solo Hiker or for the partner that has to Walk all the way out and wait for search and rescue and then Hike them all the way back in. I would wait until your broken leg was healed them break it again for making me Hike in and out 2 or 3 times because you weren't watching what you were doing. You're not in a race, slow down enjoy the beauty around you. Don't make a bad decision, know you.