If you’ve seen your friends amazing pics on Instagram from a hike or watched an inspiring movie (like me) and decide to take the trail – first of all congrats! It’s an experience like no other, that will change you.
I remember how was laying at home in my bed watching “Wild”, drying my tears down because I felt so sorry for Reese Witherspoon that she lost her boot at the edge of a cliff and I was like – I can do that too! Well, not the boot part, the walking part. Next week I was staring upward to the mountain top that we are supposed to climb and thinking that it looked way too steep! I guess in my imagination a mountain hike was more like a lovely forest walk. Ha-ha that wasn’t the case, so you can start laughing now on my beautiful naivety.
In an attempt to make life easier for you and your first hike at least less bitter and painful then mine, let’s go through some important stuff.
Shoes – never, and I mean never, go in any random sneakers on a hike longer then 1-2 hours and especially ones with a serious ascend. As you can see in the upper pick of myself I did exactly the opposite (smart girl, I know!). Results – at the descent a thunderstorm hit us on the trail, everything became so slippery and I was falling down every 5 minutes. My feet were wet and felt so cold that I couldn’t imagine such a sensation and when I finally arrived to the finishing point I had blisters everywhere! Solution: borrow some hiking boots from a friend!
Clothing – the most minimum you should go and buy if you don’t have it is a synthetic t-shirt and a waterproof windbreaker or jacket. Let me tell you, when I started the ascend I started sweating like on my best cross-fit days. A wicking t-shirt or long sleeve would have helped dramatically, trust me! There is no need for explanation of the waterproof jacket – the rain can hit unexpectedly and the weather changes very fast in the mountains. A budget option is finding something like this in mass market brands that now have affordable sports items.
Food – I still remember the day when we got a bit lost and ran out of food. I would have killed for a cookie, granola bar or anything edible in that moment of time. You must always have more than enough food for cases like this. Things happen, so you have to be prepared to be responsible for yourself, and part of that is to have enough water and food just in case something goes wrong.
Security – let others know where are you going and take a fully charged cellphone! Never go by yourself to the trail, especially on a first time it’s a total no! Take a minimum of 1 friend with you, plan the route in advance, read all the necessary information, and of course – check the weather, especially for a first time, it would be nice to avoid rain and thunderstorms.
Have fun on the trails and don’t forget to share your picks with us!