Looking to clear your head, change up your walking route, or take in some wildlife scenes? No one can deny the immediate rewards gained by a nice walk in the woods. If you’re tired of the gym scene or just crave some fresh air and scenic views, pick a trail at West Point Lake and head out. To help you get started, we’ve listed a few beginner hiking tips.
Food and Water
First and foremost, nourishment. Plenty of water and a light snack along the way will boost your energy significantly. Easy-to-carry snacks are beef jerky, Slim Jims, fruit (fresh, dried, or in fruit cups), Snickers, peanut butter crackers, granola bars, summer sausage and cheese, or the all-important trail mix.
Choose the Right Trail
Start small and work your way up. Don’t get too gung-ho and take on the longest trail out there just because you feel energized. That burst of energy won’t last through the entire trek. Pace yourself. If you decide to stop and turn back when you get tired, you will be totally spent on the return trip. Turn back before you get tired. Make your hike enjoyable, not exhausting.
Type of Clothing
Layers of synthetics, instead of cotton, is the way to go. You can add or shed layers as needed. In case of rain, the little 99¢ emergency rain ponchos from Walmart will do the trick. They fold down small enough to fit in your back pocket. Well worth the money. When it comes to shoes, comfortable shoes are all that’s needed.
What to Carry
Water, snacks, camera, bug spray, book, jacket, emergency rain poncho, whistle, and binoculars for bird watching. And don’t forget to toss in blister dressings and mole skin, just in case. If you’re a newbie hiker and nervous about venturing into the woods, take your cell phone along to pinpoint your location along the trail via GPS. To carry all of your essentials for a day hike, a small backpack or book bag will do the trick.
There are many benefits to using trekking poles. They reduce the impact on joints, increase stability and balance, provide traction on inclines and descents, help increase stamina, and propel those from “can’t” to “can”.
Leave No Trace
Just that; leave no trace of your existence on the trail. Take nothing and leave nothing. Please practice outdoor ethics and trail etiquette.