ENGLISH teacher and author David McCullough Jr once said: “Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”
David in his quote highlights the abstract symbolism that comes with climbing a mountain. It is not about the aesthetics but it is all about the journey and destination.
The same analogy can be applied to hiking.
Hiking, like mountain climbing, is all about the journey and destination.
Hiking tends to be longer and harder walks that are usually on trails through the mountains or trails through bush or countryside terrain.
While many people recently have caught the hiking bug, this trend dates back to 1336.
Petrarch the poet recounts that on 26 April 1336, he, his brother and two servants climbed to the top of Mont Ventoux, a feat which he undertook for recreation rather than necessity.
Many historians attribute Petrarch’s first climb of the mountains for pleasure as the first sign of hiking.
Fast forward to today, hiking has become one of the most popular recreational activities across various age groups.
If you are looking at either starting or becoming an advanced hiker, there are some tips on becoming a better hiker.
According to the Getaway publication, these are some of the tips of becoming a better hiker:
1. Join a Hiking Club
Joining a hiking club is hands down the best way to meet other beginners as well as experienced hikers who know their stuff.
Going hiking with a group is a great way to familiarise yourself with different routes and trails. It will also help you decide on your favourite hiking spot. And, of course, there is safety in numbers.
2. Invest in the Right Gear
Shopping for hiking gear can be overwhelming, and you could easily land up buying expensive, unnecessary and incorrect items.
We recommend buying only the essentials: a torch, lightweight hiking shoes, a space blanket, a waterproof lightweight jacket, thick socks, a peak cap, a daypack (10 to 30 litres), a lightweight scarf, SPF 50-100 sunblock, a reusable one litre water bottle, and lightweight shorts, pants and top.
3. Know What Food to Pack
Whether you’re going on a relatively short hike, or an endurance hike that may take an entire day or more, always pack something to eat along with your water.
You want to bring food that’s easily digestible and will give you energy. Think simple sandwiches, energy bars, fruits, nuts, trail mix and some biscuits.
4. Navigation is Key
If you decide to go on a hike in unfamiliar terrain, having navigation problems is entirely possible. Make sure your phone has ample charge in case of an emergency. Drop a pin where you park your car so that you can use your maps to find your way back.