Oh man .. there is just no better way to satisfy your wanderlust. Being smack in the middle of nature, feeling the untouched earth below your feet, and being the silent watcher as every bird, every butterfly, every plant goes about its business. There can be nothing more relaxing and more invigorating than that, trust me!
But then trekking is also a serious activity. The impact and risk level that you will be exposed to while you hike depends upon a lot of factors which include the type of terrain you are walking on, nature of the surroundings you will be exposed to and of course your experience as a trekker.
So if you are a beginner in this world, I would suggest you take these basic pointers in mind before you decide to take off on a nature trail for some exploration. These will help you keep the risk factor to a minimum and ensure you enjoy your time with nature as best as possible.
Tip # 1: Know the trail
You really do not want to end up getting lost in the middle of nowhere. No matter what, always do your research before setting out to explore a new trail. There is not any universal metric system available in the world that will tell you the level of difficulty level of a trail. That's the beauty of it – you never know what you will encounter out in the wild outdoors! But there is a difference between being an adventurer and being downright reckless. My suggestion? Talk to the local communities, ask around for any adventurers in the area or find a trek operator that can advise you on the best trails. But, at least at the beginner level, do not embark on an expedition without any knowledge of the trail at all.
Tip # 2: Get the gear
As I pointed out earlier, trekking is a serious activity and as such, you should not venture out in the wild unprepared. When it comes to hiking gear, a few things you will find handy are carabiners, a rope, flashlight, extra batteries, rain protection, some extra clothing, first aid kit, a pocket knife, maps, a compass and some munchies in case you feel peckish out there. Ample supply of water is a must and an energy drink will be good too. Stash all of it in a sturdy backpack and you are good to go. And hey! Do not forget your camera, just in case.
Tip # 3: Dress up
When it comes to footwear, I would always recommend a good, strong pair of hiking boots as the best choice. Sneakers and flip flops are OK if the trail you are headed for is a flat, well trodden and manicured one, but mostly, what you would find out there will be an uneven, rocky, earthy path that will be totally untamed. Anything can hurt your feet out there, be it a thorn or a leech or an insect or even worse – snake bite! The rest of your clothing should be comfy and airy and should not hamper free movement in any way. Cotton tends to be the best fabric to be wearing on a hike in my opinion.
Tip # 4: Protect the joints
Downhill trekking can be really hard on your knees and thighs. Taking too long strides and jumps can also harm your joints and injury movement. You might not realize it now, but this recklessness can cost you big time, in the form of muscle damage and joint pain. Do not be rushing downhill, take smaller strides and commit to a route that is less of an incline. Remember, you are not doing this to show off your hiking skills, you are just here to enjoy nature and have fun. For more tips on how to protect your body while hiking, you can read the other articles I have written.
Tip # 5: Start short
If you are a beginner trekker, I would suggest you start short and not overestimate how far you can go. See, trekking is an activity that can really tax your body in terms of effort, strain and muscle work. Tired feet are the most intolerable to twists and sprains. In the initial stages, I recommend you limit the distance to two miles and build upon your stamina from there. As you gain confidence and your endurance improvements, you can begin to take larger expeditions.
Hope you have a great time in the wild on your first trekking trip!