Hiking 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Extreme Trekking

Walking is already everyone’s go-to exercise, but if you take it a long step further, it becomes something known as hiking. To many, hiking is defined as climbing tall mountains like the Rocky Mountains or Mount Everest, but in truth, hiking can be a simple walk through the countryside. According to Raftrek, hiking started out as a way for survival and hunting but evolved into an activity for pleasure in the 18th century. This evolution occurred because of the changing viewpoints on nature and landscapes inspired by the romantic movement. In modern times, hiking, with its lack of rules and ideologies, is a way of life for some people. Raftrek reports that hiking can increase knowledge, physical ability, and adaptability to certain environments and situations. That being said, not everyone has an easy time hiking. Here is a beginner’s guide to hiking.

Carry a Map
“Get a map and take a look at the trail,” Dominic Henry, Valdosta State University Center for Outdoor Recreational Experiences hiking expert, said. Henry said that anyone who wants to go hiking should know what they’re getting into. It’s important to know your landscape so that you know what equipment to bring. Ask yourself what animals live in the area you plan to hike in so that you know how to avoid them or defend yourself.

Make Sure Someone Knows Your Location at All Times
Remember, you can get lost at any time if you don’t know where you’re going during your hike. Henry said that location is most important for hikers without prior experience. Sending your location to someone you know will help others find you in case something happens.

Have the Right Hiking Boots
Sore and aching feet can take the fun out of anything, especially hiking. Henry said he believes having the right hiking boots can make or break a hike. Making sure your feet are comfortable will help you endure long hikes. According to Liftopia’s Erika Wiggins, make sure to wear wool or synthetic socks to help with foot comfort.

Wear the Right Attire
The way you dress also corresponds to comfort in a hike. Wiggins said that you should avoid cotton and wear synthetics. Cotton, when damp, becomes clammy and chafes. To prepare for weather adjustments, wear layers you can easily add or drop. Always pack an extra warm layer, preferably something that blocks the wind, for those worst case scenarios you often don’t think of.

Watch Your Step
This is no longer your home environment. Pay attention to your surroundings. The last thing you want to do is trip over a rock and sprain your ankle.

Gauge Yourself
If you’re a beginner, you won’t know how much you can handle. Start small because you’ll never end a hike the same way you started. Wiggins said beginners should increase their endurance by starting on an evenly paved trail and working their way up in terms of elevation. After that, choose how you will pace yourself. It may feel tricky at first, but you’ll feel the rewards through how much energy you saved.

Leave the Trail as It Was or Better
Environments already face enough pollution as it is, so make sure to pick up all your trash and put it in the designated trash bins. Don’t bother the wildlife if you can help it.

Carry Only The Essentials
Wiggins reports that there are a total of ten essential systems needed on the average hike. These systems allow for safety in the outdoors and also prepare you for overnight hikes if you rise to the occasion. This list can be tailored for winter hikes as well as summer hikes.

1. Sun protection
2. Hydration
3. Navigation
4. Illumination
5. Nutrition
6. Insulation
7. First-aid supplies
8. Repair kit and tools
9. Fire
10. Emergency shelter

Packing Checklist

  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle with a filter
  • Waterproof / windproof matches or lighter
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Map and compass
  • First-aid supplies
  • Hiking boots
  • Tent


Easy No-Bake Homemade Granola Bars

• 3 cups rolled oats
• 1 cup toasted coconut
• 1/2 cup toasted macadamia nuts, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

• 3 cups rolled oats
• 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup rice cereal
• 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
• 1/2 cup banana chips, crushed

• 3 cups rolled oats
• 1 cup roasted almonds, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped

• 3 cups rolled oats
• 1 cup pretzels, crushed
• 3/4 cup crushed potato chips
• 1/2 cup mini M&M’s

• 3 cups rolled oats
• 3/4 cup salted roasted sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup raisins, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 teaspoon salt

1) Line 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving slight overhang on 2 long sides.

2) Choose which granola bar you want to make. Combine ingredients in large bowl; set aside.

3) To make sauce, combine butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt in medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil (the mixture will bubble and foam), stirring occasionally for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool, stirring so it doesn’t set. Pour over oat mixture; stir until all ingredients are incorporated and coated.

4) Spread mixture into prepared pan and press firmly and evenly with rubber spatula.

5) Let bars stand at room temperature until completely cool, then place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours until firm enough to slice. Lift out of pan and cut into 24 bars.

Written by: Bryce Ethridge

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