Hiking is an excellent aerobic activity that can be done year round. Fall hiking offers stunning shades of orange, yellow and red coloured leaves, cooler temperatures, and fewer bugs. In winter hiking, it’s fun to spot wildlife footprints on snow and the sun’s reflection off snowy pines is breathtaking. Hiking is a fantastic way to exceed the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week. It helps with balance, plus it’s a great way to connect with nature.
Let’s look at some important equipment and information that’ll help keep you safe and sound. If you are planning a winter camping trip, this advice will come in handy too.
- For hikes a bit more off the beaten path, always carry the ten essentials as a bare minimum year round.
- Flash light or headlamp with fresh batteries.
- Whistle or flares for scaring wildlife or attracting attention.
- Matches and a lighter in a waterproof container.
- Extra clothing (i.e., hat, sweater).
- Pocket knife (i.e., Swiss Army knife or Leatherman™).
- Shelter in case you must spend a night out (tarp or large garbage bag).
- Extra food and water (I carry an extra litre of water and high energy food like trail mix).
- First aid kit. Taking a wilderness first aid course is worthwhile.
- Map, compass and GPS. Don’t solely rely on GPS as electronics can fail.
- Cellular or satellite phone or GPS tracking device such as SPOT™ and trip plan.
- Stop: That’s right, stop moving and stay where you are. When we are lost or hurt we can wander around aimlessly making the situation worse.
- Think: Use your head; calmly and rationally think. Describe the situation out loud to yourself or your buddy.
- Observe: Look around and look at your map and GPS. Is the sun low (i.e., will is set soon)? Are you near a landmark?
- Plan: Make a plan. Staying put and waiting for help can be a plan. Another plan could be retracing your steps to your last known point.
Now you may be asking yourself, “how do I find hiking near me?” There are hundreds of hiking trails across British Columbia, plan your next trip here.
Hiking can be a very safe physical activity. I stay out of harm’s way by carrying the ten essentials and knowing my limits.
See you on the trails this winter?!