Hiking has received an increase in interests according to studies conducted during the COVID-19 quarantine. When matched against camping, boating, fishing, and visiting national parks, hiking was the most popular choice for planned activities. So why hiking? Could it be that our country is facing a first when it comes to a surplus of time and a need for things to do? Is it the chance for parents to take the family on vacation now that most parents are not working? Or could it be a new appreciation for nature and the human need to enjoy the outdoors?
Whatever the case may be, it is important for families who are planning outings to be fully prepared. Now is the perfect time to do your research and find the trails to hike, what to pack, and precautions you need to take. As a starting point, we have laid out factors to consider when you are in the planning and research phase.
- If this is the first real hiking trip or you just started, it is good to travel with at least one partner. If you're going with your family then you've already got this part covered. However, in case you are in need of a partner, you can check out MeetUp to find a group with similar interests as you do.
- Next is finding a trail suitable for the group. This is where you must realistically evaluate your physical conditioning so your trip is pleasurable rather than punishing. After all, you want to be able to take in all of the beauty nature has in store.
- Not only must you consider the length of the trail, but you must also account for the level of difficulty. As a rule-of-thumb, the greater the elevation gain, tougher the terrain, and the more weight you're carrying on your back, the more difficult your trip will be. Luckily, trails for beginners can be found just about anywhere.
- Planning an appropriate time frame for your hike is important and must consider the difficulty factors discussed earlier, any weather patterns that could prolong the time, and time allowed for stops to see landmarks or to take breaks.
- Lastly, pack appropriately. Make sure at least one person in the group is carrying emergency gear. REI states that there are ten essentials that every hiker should bring with them. These essentials cover navigation, hydration and nutrition, and fire among other categories.