Whether you’re a novice or an experiences hiker, there are some basics preparations that you should definitely be aware of before venturing into the vast wilderness. Here’s 10 tips that will prepare you for those long day hikes and to come home happy and safe.
I live in Utah and there are so many beautiful hikes scattered throughout the entire state. Visiting these gorgeous landscapes is an unforgettable experience and I hope to continue visiting them even as I get older. But there are a few tips and tricks that I have learned along the way to make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Check it out!
Tip #1: Hydration, hydration, hydration
I ran out of water once on a long 12-mile hike to the top of Cascade Mountain and I have never been more thirsty in my life. It was miserable not to mention dangerous. I vowed never to make that mistake again. As a general rule of thumb, you should bring 32 ounces of water for every two hours that you are hiking. If you don’t want to carry your water, you can also fill up along the way in a nearby stream using a personal water filter.
Tip #2: Pack plenty of food
My friend invited her in-laws from Texas to hike Mount Timpanogos for the first time and they came very ill-prepared. They ended up eating all of my friend’s food that she brought because they didn’t bring enough. Here’s a list of suggested items to keep you energized for the entirety of your adventure:
- Energy gel packs
- Honey Stinger Energy chews
- Energy Stroopwafels
- Electrolyte Liquid Drink enhancers
- Protein bars
- Beef sticks
- Hearty sandwich for lunch
If you procrastinated to the last minute and can’t order some of these items online, you can find them at most health store or running stores.
Tip #3: First aid kit, toilet paper and sunscreen
During a day hike to Box Elder Peak in Utah, my sister-in-law slipped on some loose rocks and hit her head. Although she was okay, blood was everywhere and she desperately needed a simple band aid. After that, she always carried a small hiker’s first aid kit on every hike.
Tip #4: Know your terrain
When my husband and I hiked King’s Peak (the tallest peak in Utah), we decided to take a short cut down a steep chute full of sharp rocks. It was dangerous and only saved us five minutes. Had we down our research, we could have avoided that “shortcut” altogether.
Take a picture of the trail map before you start hiking. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes we’re so anxious to get started that we forget. Research your trail online before your hike so you’re not surprised by the slippery rock garden, steep cliffs or a huge boulder field along your way.
Tip #5: Consider who your hiking buddies
If you’re in peak physical condition, you may want to reconsider hiking with your buddy from high school who hasn’t hiked since high school. It may end up in frustration as you are anxious to keep moving and your friend wants to take a break every ten minutes.
Tip #6: Invest in some trekking poles
Although trekking poles may seem cumbersome and annoying to carry, they can help protect your knees when walking down steep hills, they can help you keep your balance and rocky trails, and they can help you hike faster, especially downhill.
Tip #7: Be aware of altitude sickness
If you start to feel dizzy and nauseous and your head starts to hurt, you might be getting altitude sickness. Forget about summiting the mountain and get down to an altitude of 4,000 feet or less. Even the most fit athletes can get altitude sickness and it can be fatal.
Tip #8: Wear the right foot gear
Your lucky running shoes or comfortable sandal just won’t cut it. A good pair of trail running shoes or hiking boots need to be broken in before you attempt one of these many long day hikes. You’ll get blisters and hot spots and end up having to turn around or be in a lot of unnecessary pain. Plus, the wrong shoes can cause you to be unstable on your feet and you could twist an ankle worse. And trust me, it’s no fun being stuck on the top of a mountain.
Tip #9: Don’t attempt it solo
Before you start out on your fun adventure, make sure someone knows where you’re going. Plus, don’t try to attempt some of these long day hikes alone. If you slip and fall and no one is there to help you, you’ll be in big trouble.
Tip #10: Stop and smell the flowers
One of the most beautiful places I have ever visited in my life was a tiny mountain spring surrounded by bright purple wild flowers. But sometimes these scenic views and breathtaking landscapes get overshadowed by the goal of reaching the top. It’s okay if you take a 10-minute break every so often to soak it all in.
I hope some of these tips will help you on your next day hike through a gorgeous mountain countryside. Let me know how it goes in the comments below. Here’s a video of me and my brother and sister in long hiking 15 miles round trip to the top of Mount Timpanogos.
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