6 Tips for Beginners Hitting the Trails

Womens walking boots

Are you looking for the perfect trail walking shoes to get started on those beautiful mountain trails? Well, slow down there. Just because you have super comfortable walking boots and a fancy water bottle doesn’t mean that you are ready. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind if you don’t have a lot of experience walking trails. It may sound like no big deal but walking along a forest or mountain trail is a lot different than going for a walk around your neighborhood or local park. Here are a few things you should know before you go:

  1. Before You Take Off
    There are several things that you should know and do before you even start. The first one is:

    • Make sure that your trail walking shoes are broken in. Don’t do that while on the trail itself!
    • Research the trail you are planning on taking. Make sure that you are prepared for the conditions.
    • Load up on water, a cell phone and a map in case your cell phone dies and make sure you know where you are starting on the map. It might be a good idea to mark it out.
    • Dress appropriately. Cotton doesn’t breath and is a bad idea. Wear something with synthetic materials that dries quickly in case you sweat or get wet in rivers or rain. Take a comfortable back up filled with all of the necessities (water, food, first aid kit, flash light, cell phone) and then of course your trail walking shoes with thick socks to pad the bottoms.
  2. Leave a Trail Behind You
    Especially if you are going to walk trails alone, someone should always know where you are going and when you plan to be back. Leave something environmentally friendly along your route as you go. This will help you find your way back as well as help a rescue mission to locate your whereabouts should that become necessary.
  3. Move to the Right
    It’s general etiquette to move over to the right when you see someone coming the other direction. If they move to their right then you should have no problem passing one another. Don’t forget to give the hiker nod or say hello to your fellow hiker or trail walker. You also need to give the right of way to horses and bikes on the trail. However, if you are on a hill going upwards, you will likely have more right of way than if you were heading down the hill.
  4. Wear Neon
    Especially if you are going during hunting season, make sure you wear an orange vest so that the hunters can see you. You’d be surprised at how close a deer and a trail runner or hiker look alike from far away. Hunters know there will be people around so they’ll be more careful, but it’s better to be safe and help them out a little bit.
  5. Leave the Wildlife
    If you encounter wild life, it’s best to avoid it if at all possible. There are specific instructions for how to deal with each animal should it come to that but if you can back off before they see you, they won’t feel threatened and will soon leavlittle different then if you were to go with friends. Typically, a social run is when everyone runs together and stays close. A social run at a personal pace is when e. Snakes sometimes will sleep laying across a pathway. If you come across this and the snake is not coiled and not moving then you can go around it if there is room to give the snake a wide enough birth.
  6. Know What to Except From Groups
    If you are going with experienced trail runners and walkers or hikers it might be a everyone starts at the same time but is allowed to go at their own pace and then meets up at predetermined spots along the way. If you participate in an ‘on your own; run, this simply means that you go your own pace but you’ll meet up at the end.

It’s important not to go into something like this without enough knowledge. While the task seems easy- throw on your trail walking shoes and go, there’s a lot of dangerous things that could happen. Continue.

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