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How to Prepare for a Hike (Beginner)

With the Winter coming swiftly to a close here in Denver, I’m already in preparation mode for my favorite activity that occurs in our mild, warm seasons.  Hiking!  Our hikes have become one of those challenges that I most look forward to on a weekly basis.  Similar to when I was a kid playing sports back in the day, the time passes so quickly that I hardly even notice how hard I’ve worked across the hours.  I enjoy my time in nature, basking in the beautiful surroundings while being whisked away in simple conversations with friends and family.  And I was thinking that you might want to prepare for a hike, too!

How to Prepare for a Hike

After living and travelling in a wide variety of climates and landscapes, I know that hikes can be found in every crevasse of our gorgeous globe.  If you’re interested in trying out a hike, then below are five of my favorite tips to make sure that you are well prepared for a day on the go.  (Please note that this guide is not meant for those taking multiple day hikes, as y’all are in a whole other ball game.)

Start by Walking


When you break it down, hikes are typically more intense walks mixed with extended time on the StairMaster.  (I know that doesn’t make it sound like fun, but there’s a lot more that plays into the actual hike, trust me.)  If you’re not involved in a fitness routine, consult with a professional and consider starting with walks.  In your trainings, focus more on the overall length of time you can keep moving, rather than your speed.  Hikes are about endurance, not about seeing who can get to the top of the mountain quickly.  Take the time to train by walking on a regular basis and the muscle memory will come naturally to you once you’re on the hiking path.

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Check Yelp or Google to Find the Hike Best Suited for You

Remember that this is not a competition, this is training for life.  If we were to quit every time we were starting from the beginning, we would never get anywhere.  When researching via Google or Yelp, type in exactly what you’re looking for in the search bar description.  I.E. “Beginner Hike near (your town here.)”  Even if you feel that you’re more experienced or a stronger hiker than a beginner, I always recommend starting at the first level prior to moving up. While there are several reasons for this, the primary one is that these levels could mean a wide variety of things, depending on your area and the website you’re reading.  Find a website that is updated frequently and that is getting regular updates from hikers in the area.  (We actually use Yelp fairly regularly.)  Then start as a beginner.  At worst, you’ll finish the hike with enough energy to complete another workout and you’ll know that you can appropriately move on to Intermediate without having to worry about getting stuck part way through the day.

Pack Water and Snacks

Find your old backpacks or fanny packs and rock them like a proud elementary school kid.  Especially if it’s a warm day, pack salty snacks and more water than you think you’ll need for your hiking trip.  Without replenishing these elements, your system will become depleted of water, making you lethargic.  For snacks, try mini pretzels, Clif Bars, or my favorite diy Trail MIx.  All will have the nutrients you need to keep your system running across the hours.

Pro tip: If you’re going to be hiking for much of the day, we’ve started freezing our filled water bottles the night prior.  The water melts across the day and is the most refreshing delight you will have had in a long time.

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Either Travel on a High Traffic Trail or Bring Someone with You

There have been way too many stories about people hiking alone and getting lost on a trail.  Don’t be those people!  Either bring a friend or family member along for the ride, or be willing to travel the path most taken.  This tip goes beyond being a simple safety measure, because your hike will also end up being a lot more fun with others joining the ride.  Turn off the music and tune into living in nature with one another.  Enjoy the fresh air.  It will do wonders for your mind, body, and soul.

Wear Sunscreen

There’s not much detail that I can add to this tip, except that you should trust me on it.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

What are your favorite activities to enjoy in the warm weather?

If you’re a fellow hiker,, what are your tips for others jumping into the game?

Create a great life!

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  • Reply Melanie McNeil

    Good tips. I’m what might be considered an intermediate day hiker. But my opportunities for hiking at elevation are limited here in Iowa! I would add a couple of things. First, if you already are a walker, walk farther. If you walk 2 miles most days of the week, extend it to 3 miles. If you have a set of stairs in your home, deliberately do some extra ups and downs every day.

    Second, don’t wear flip flops, flat sneakers, or other inappropriate shoes. You need good support because the trail likely has some tricky footing. Sturdy athletic shoes or decent hiking boots are a must.

    THanks for the post.

    March 1, 2016 at 7:57 am
    • Reply semisweettooth

      Great call outs! I started hiking in Ohio, so I definitely feel you there. Though now in CO and next in Peru, there are a few more areas to train with variation.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      March 1, 2016 at 3:28 pm
  • Reply Amber

    Can’t wait for hiking season to start in Colorado! I really am looking forward to it this year. And what a great tip for searching for trails on Yelp, I never would have thought to do that.

    Amber
    amberbutbetter.blogspot.com

    March 1, 2016 at 11:09 am
    • Reply semisweettooth

      We use Yelp for tracking conditions on well travelled trails most frequently. Definitely worth checking out. 🙂

      March 1, 2016 at 3:29 pm
  • Reply Emmaly Knecht

    As a kid, my family went on tons of amazing hikes during summer vacations. Its amazing some of the sights i have seen during those hikes. Makes me want to take a trip this weekend!!

    March 1, 2016 at 12:02 pm
    • Reply semisweettooth

      You absolutely should! Hikes can be found everywhere, and the fresh air feels amazing. 🙂

      March 1, 2016 at 3:30 pm
  • Reply Angela

    Great tips! Makes me want to go a hike right now!! xo

    March 2, 2016 at 12:55 am
    • Reply semisweettooth

      I know, I our outdoor season is beginning veryyyy shortly. And I can’t wait!

      March 2, 2016 at 7:36 am

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