Hiking is a great way to enjoy nature while you stay in shape. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your hike.
Preparing for the weather
Before heading off on an outdoor excursion, always take weather conditions into account.
- Check the long-range weather forecast a few days ahead of the hike but do not put too much trust in a fine weather forecast as conditions can change rapidly.
- If it is hot, plan to do most of your walking in the mild conditions of morning and early evening, and rest in the middle of the day.
- Extra water may be required in such conditions.
- Try to wait for good weather before starting a walk; consider a postponement if conditions are wet and cold.
- When walking on very cold days, dress to keep warm and dry, and do not go too far from your base.
- If possible, discuss your plans with somebody who knows the area where you are planning to walk. Park rangers and experienced bushwalkers can advise you about conditions in the region.
A quick safety tip
Whether you are heading out for a day or for a week, make sure that relevant authorities or somebody at home knows where you are going, when you plan to return — and what to do if you are overdue.
- If you have a cell phone, take it with you.
Walk softly in the woods
“Leave the countryside as you found it” is the unofficial motto of hiking. The attractions that draw people from urban areas to explore and enjoy the natural environment are often fragile and can easily be spoiled; by observing the following advice you can ensure that the countryside you traverse remains as it is so that it can be enjoyed by those who follow in your footsteps.
- Observe fire restrictions.
- If crossing a property, leave the gates as you found them — open if they were open, shut if they were shut.
- Look but do not touch — rocks, plants, animals and indigenous sites should be left undisturbed.
- Always stay on marked tracks or paths.
- Walk in single file to avoid eroding track edges and trampling vegetation.
- Always obtain the owner’s permission before walking on private property.
- Do not take firearms — or any other sort of weapon — when you go hiking.
- Take out what you bring in. Keep used food wrappings and containers, and any other garbage, with you for proper disposal at the end of your hike.
Keep these tips in mind and enjoy a safe hike today!