So you decided to jump into the world of hiking…now what? No experts here, just some general tips for the amateur hiker looking to explore, get in a little exercise and have fun!
Time To Go For A Hike
I am a Colorado native and I have to be honest, I have never really gone on too many hikes. I am not a camper, I haven’t tent camped since girl scouts and I would never consider myself an outdoor loving gal. Now, that mountain air…I need that but the typical mountain activities have never been on my MUST DO LIST!
I am slowly getting back into my 4-5 times a week exercise routine but to be honest, it is hard to head to my favorite reformer Pilates classes knowing I have to do my workout with a mask on. So, when a few of my friends told me they wanted to start hiking on the weekends I decided that it would be a great way to get some exercise in and try something new.
Tips For The Amateur Hiker
Find A Friend
The only reason I got myself up at 5am on one of my kid free Saturdays was because my friends planned this new hiking club and invited me. Like I said, I am a Colorado native and the idea of hiking never really had me excited but when you add a social aspect to it and take away the stress or worry about planning something new I was ready for the hike!
This group of friends that I am set to hike with on my kid free weekends are all on the same page when it comes to our hikes. We want a challenge, get our steps in for the day and some physical activity but also want to use this time to enjoy the space we are hiking and have time to catch up and chat. This is not a group that is ready for a 14ner but it is a group that will not judge you if you need an extra water break.
What got me out the door was knowing that someone had planned this for me and got me into the hiking game. Now that I see the process and enjoyed my time, I am comfortable with assisting in the planning the next time I am able to join the group. Bottom line, if you are new to this, find some friends to join!
Think Of Your Footwear
When I was first told about this hike I looked in my closet and found my most athletic shoes…well those shoes were not going to cut it. These shoes were nearly 10 years old and were not anything that would keep my feet and ankles ready for a good hike. Because it is pretty close to the end of the season, I was able to find a great deal on some hiking shoes. SCORE!! While I did not get to break them in before the hike I was surprised at how comfortable they were. But in true, new shoes fashion…I did get blisters on the back of my foot! BOO!
No matter what your plans are, please evaluate your shoes and make sure you are prepared for your hike. Again, this will depend on the level you are planning on hiking as well. Our hike was nothing extreme but looking back, I know my feet would have been feeling bad in my old tennis shoes.
Look At The Weather
Weather can be tricky. I hate being hot but I also know I do not want to be stuck in the cold or rain. No matter what the weather forecast shows, prepare for all seasons. Wearing layers is a good way to do this. Again, we started early in the morning, it was chilly so I started my hike with a light sweatshirt. By the time we were almost to the top of our hike I was in my tank top. We did have sprinkles of rain too. Not enough to warrant a rain coat or sweater but something to keep in mind.
Snacks – Because Snacks
Eat breakfast and bring snacks. Nothing too heavy but just something to give you a little energy when you take one of your water or picture breaks. Granola, trail mix, apples. All great options! Remember to carry out anything you bring in. Keeping our wildlife safe and nature natural!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Especially here in Colorado, it is so important to hydrate during your hike. I have a crossbody bag that I keep my water bottle in and that worked great for me. The rest of my hiking pals have the camelback type backpacks that contain their water. No matter how you do it, make sure you have enough water to keep you hydrated through your entire hike!
No one likes a sunburn and no one likes to be overly hot while hiking. Make sure you apply sunscreen before heading out on your hike and keep some in your bag for a reapply as well. I am not much of a hat person but I did get a cute #MomLife hat that worked great to keep the sun off of my face and my hair pulled back. Sunglasses are a must as well!
Something that we also found was important was bug spray and hand sanitizer. Thankfully all of these items are pretty light and can be put into a backpack for easy storage while hiking.
Research Your Hike
Like I said before, the only reason I jumped into this Saturday adventure was because someone else had already done the research. My friend uses an app that shows all kinds of hikes around the area. This app also provides a map and some details about the hike including the difficulty.
As you research the hike this will help you prepare for what to bring and what to expect as well. For us, we knew that parking was limited which is why we got a SUPER early morning start. It worked out great.
Okay, thankfully my friend had me covered when my new hiking shoes were rubbing…bandages to the rescue! THANK YOU FRIEND!! In doing this though, we decided that we needed to invest in a small first aid kit to bring with us on our hikes. All of us need to work on our gait…that’s what google says…meaning we need to pick up our feet when we walk. I cannot tell you how many times one of us tripped on our own feet! Thankfully we didn’t need any first aid during these trips but just in case, it is great to be prepared with some general first aid items.
Take A Lot Of Pictures!
This isn’t a race. If you stop to take pictures it is okay! When I got home and looked at the photos I took I only wished I took more. Hiking is not only a great exercise for your body but it is great for your soul and mind. Fresh air, a change of scenery and fun! We even had someone take our photos so we could have a nice group photo at the top of our hike. Great memories!
No seriously…have fun! I was nervous that my physical activity level would be an issue but with this group I felt supported and great. Find that group. Set goals that you all can reach and have fun.
New To Hiking And I Like It
Well, like I said, I am not an expert at hiking but these tips should help anyone wondering how to get into the world of hiking to jump in!! I am not ready to go on hikes alone but I am ready to continue to explore, build my endurance and create some more memories with this group of girlfriends.
I am so thankful for the invite into this “hiking club” and cannot wait to continue to learn from our hikes. We are setting some goals and I am excited to see how this goes for us all! It really is amazing how this whole healthier lifestyle journey has not only helped me to lose weight and make healthier choices but gave me an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful state I live in. I would have never jumped on this opportunity when I was 50 pounds heavier. Oh life….you are crazy sometimes.
What are your tips for any new hikers?
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This post was originally published on July 31, 2020 and updated on August 24, 2021.