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Six Principles for Enjoyable Hiking Experiences

April 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 113

Whether you have been a lazy sloth (like me) who began hiking to become fitter or a seasoned backpacker, it is best to know your etiquette before you hit the national park trails to avoid looking like a dork.

Here are my top six tips if you want to have an enjoyable hiking experience:

1. Leave the environment better than you found it: That's the crux of the tons of pages that you will get when you google 'Leave No Trace'. When we go on trips, in fact many of my fellow hikers go a notch further and pick up used tin-cans and cardboard plates that they find on the trails to trash it out. If you want to be real intense about LNT, scatter away fire ashes from your camp-fire around the site so as to distribute the effects.

2. Pack out what you pack in: Needless to say, you don't want to find trails that are ridden with paper cups or campsites filled with snoot.

3. Try to use the trails that already present: I am not a fan of bushwhacking at all, if you do, be aware that you are contributing to the erosion of the environment. If you need to save yourselves, most certainly, do whatever you can to get out!

4. The hikers walking uphill get right of way on trails: If you ever end up sharing the trail with a horse, by all means let the animal have the entire way to itself. Horses hate the backpacks!

5. No bodily fluids within 200 ft of the trail or stream: Since you would not like to find someone else's poop while walking in the woods or filling your camelbak in the stream, you should logically refrain from that.

6. And try to greet fellow people you meet: No one likes a sour face in the middle of the forest.

Here are some other things you could do to prevent a miserable hike:

1. For deeper stream crossings, take off anything you will not want wet (shoes etc.) and put it on top of your backpack. Bring a pair of crocs or floaters if you don't like the feel of slimy moss against your feet.

2. Some knowledge of local flora can help. For example, down in Georgia, poison ivy is so common. It is a creeper with ridged leaves in clusters of three. If you will feel itchy after a hike, you might have been kissed by it.

3. For overnight camping, we prefer to leave the food a little away from the camp-site to avoid tempting any furry visitors.

4. Although I have hiked in Alaska, a premier bear country and not had a wild animal encounter (and hope to continue my peaceful life this way), in case you do see a bear, make as much noise as possible. That is supposed to annoy the bear and drive it away.

5. For me, planning the food for the hike is the hardest. I like to choose ones that are tasty and calorie-rich and concentrated in energy so that I can eat little enough to survive. Chocolate and nuts is a good combo, they appease your hunger without the sense of fullness. Bread, cheese blocks, tuna, mac & cheese, ramen make excellent foods as well. And I know a girl who backpacked with me, a month ago, who made couscous too for dinner at our wilderness campsite!

Happy trailing!

Swetha Sivaswamy is pursuing her doctoral degree in Atlanta, GA. When she is not in the lab, she likes to cook and travel. She has traveled extensively within the United States and India, although she finds that her list of places to go to never seems to shorten.

For more travel blogs by Swetha Sivaswamy, including great tourist destinations in the USA, click

Source: EzineArticles
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