A Newbie’s Hiking Manual

Sun, Aug 7 § 8 Comments

Hello and welcome to boot camp — a hiker’s version! 

Now I warn I may sound strict and quite exaggerate at some points, but that’s only to toughen you up so you expect the worse. And as a side note, my preferences are only for sunny days.

So, before we start on the hike, you will need to wear the appropriate apparel:

Ladies, a tank top or t-shirt and shorts or capri pants will be fine. If you have long hair, it would also be smart to use a hair tie, and pin-up your bangs. (Seriously, one time I forgot my bobby pin, and for the whole hike down I literally had to hold my bangs away from my face. And trust me, I would have walked twice as fast if that darn lock of hair wasn’t dangling in my face.)

If you have short hair, then high-five girl! No muss, no fuss!

Gentlemen, a simple t-shirt and a pair of shorts will do. By the way, be prepared to show off those tight abs of yours.

(Ha ha just let the awkward silence settle in . . . )

For shoes, wear something VERY comfortable. You are going to be trudging on trails for a few hours — and yes, professional hikers don’t walk on trails.

(Optional) Carry a backpack with your lunch and a few bottles of water for your mates. And if needed, there are hiking poles available.

To be a hiker, you MUST LOVE (or at least are moderately okay with):

  • trees
  • grass
  • dirt
  • bugs
  • living species
  • humans
  • oxygen
  • walking
  • water
  • sweat
  • families
  • DOGS (You will meet many, many dogs, but they’re usually not vicious human-leg-flesh eaters so there’s nothing to be afraid of. The least they would do is sniff you.)

There is such thing as hiking etiquette — okay I made it up, but there could be such thing.

Theory is, the people who head down have more momentum, therefore it’s more harder to stop.

Of course, the picture also depicts other reliable information such as: stay on the right side, the trail can sometimes be extremely narrow, and you should definitely try using your cellphone in a thousand-feet high elevation.

(But really, thank Goodness for the friendly people who say “hello” and “thank you” as they pass; it makes the sweat on my face and furrow in my brows disappear.)

As you hike, you may meet flies, especially if you’re hiking near a waterfall or river. You may feel like they come in swarms, ready to eat your skin. You may feel like they’re flying up your pants, and you may even feel like you just breathed in a few up your nostrils. Truth is, endurance is the key.

And by the name of Lord Voldemort, be careful. It’s easy to trip and break an ankle, so feel free to grab onto a branch or lean on a tree trunk when needed. Some people like to run when heading down, but I’d never suggest that (unless a gigantic man-eating squirrel was right behind you).

If it makes you feel better, I’m always behind my buddies. But you know, it’s no sweat. If you’re holding up the people behind you, just let them pass. Better to be a little behind than to have a broken back.

When you get to the top, enjoy the view!

And that’s about it! I mean, you’ll still need to hike back down, but it’s all the same basic stuff.

Other points I think I didn’t include, but am too lazy to go back and slip in:

  • Some parents bring their kids with them on the trail. And when I say kids I mean little people who tire easily. Those parents really earn some serious kudos there. Walking up trails are tiring enough, imagine carrying fifteen pounds on your back or in a baby seat (yes, baby seat) — a wailing, milk-drinking, pooping-machine-like fifteen pounds. But then again, the parents probably only walk for a quarter of the way and then head back . . .  But then again, I have seen little four or five-year olds up on the mountain peaks. . . .
  • WEAR SUNSCREEN. DO IT.
  • Do not push yourself, take breaks and drink water.
  • It’s more fun to hike with companions.
  • Do a little research about your hiking destination before you start.
  • Camera! Lock and keep the memories, and take some great snapshots of the scenery.
  • Have a positive attitude. Remember, if a bunch of five-year olds — and I — can do it, then you can too!
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