Something is calming and wonderful about losing yourself in the wilderness. The trees and wildlife can be a breath of fresh air you sorely need if you spend most of your time staring at a screen in an office. While short hikes are nice, they are often too quick to appreciate nature’s beauty. Meanwhile, a long-distance hike allows you to experience more and test your strengths. Below, we detail what you should know before taking a long-distance hike to appreciate it fully.
It’s Not a Race
The first thing you should understand about long-distance hiking is it’s not a race to the finish line. Some individuals might look at a lengthy trail and take it as a challenge to finish it as fast as possible. Not only is it dangerous to overextend yourself, but you might also miss some awesome sights and sounds.
A long hike is about enjoying nature, exploring, and centering yourself. Turning it into an athletic competition is counterproductive. Unless a bear is chasing you down, take it easy and enjoy it.
Choice of Footwear
Now that you have the proper mindset, let’s shift our focus toward the important tools of the trade. Nothing is more important for long-distance hiking than proper footwear. The trail will dictate which type you’ll need. You won’t need heavy and strong boots if it’s a more touristy trail with heavy foot traffic because most of those trails aren’t as demanding.
However, you need a pair of boots that can handle the rigors of climbing and sloshing around in the mud if you plan to go off the beaten path. You’ll also want a pair of trusted trekking socks to go with your footwear. Anti-blister socks are a wonderful investment for those who get them fairly often.
Pack With a Purpose
The goal of packing your bag is to make it as light as possible without forgetting any essentials. Typically, you will want gear that can do double duty, such as a sleeping back that can act as a cushion or pillow.
Food items like jerky, freeze-dried fruit, and protein bars don’t account for much room and weight in your bag. Anything of the canned variety adds heft to an already jammed-packed backpack.
It’s good to figure out how much water you’ll need before overpacking and adding unnecessary weight. The recommended amount of water is two cups an hour for grown adults, while children only need one. That number could fluctuate based on your health, amount of thirst, and weather conditions. You’re going to want to prepare for a few more swigs if it’s going to be a hot and dry day.
You Can Do It!
Assuming you’re adequately hydrating and taking meal breaks, it helps to understand a long-distance hike is mind-over-matter. A ten-mile hike on a steamy day can psych you out before you take your first step. You can do it if you don’t let your mind defeat you. Don’t push yourself when you’re weak and light-headed, ensure you rest when necessary. You will feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s over.
Learning what to know before taking a long-distance hike prepares you for the trail ahead. It will be an experience you will never forget if you take the proper precautions and pack for success.