Buffalo Hiking Club Message Board › American Hiking Society - this month's hiking 101 column
Below is this month's Hiking 101 advice column from the American Hiking Society's newsletter. AHS is both a valuable source of information and an advocate for preservation and expansion of hiking trails in the U.S., worthy of your consideration of joining at www.americanhiking.org:
Hiking 101: Before you leave home
Before you head out for even a short hike, be sure to follow these tips:
Let people know where you'll be hiking and when you'll be back. This is important whether you're going on a day hike at a nearby park or on a multi-day hike. On a backpacking trip, plan where you'll be camping each night as well as the section of trail you'll be hiking each day, in case you need to be pinpointed for an evacuation.
The best insurance is a written reminder with all your information left behind with someone who is not going and who is expecting you back or to check in by a certain time.
Study your maps before you begin the trip. Have a good idea of which route you will hike. Look for possible emergency exit points as well as places where water refills are likely.
Time control plan. Predetermine where you ought to be at certain points of the day using your map. Factor in your walking speed based on the number of people on the hike as well as their fitness level. Also, for every 1,000 feet of elevation you gain, add about an additional hour of hiking time. If doing an out-and-back on same route, know your turn-around time so you're not caught out after dark.
Check the weather and pack accordingly. Keep in mind that the weather at the base of a mountain and halfway up a mountain can be vastly different. Rain gear (one of the 10 Essentials) should be brought even if no rain is predicted, as wet clothes can cause a person to become hypothermic even with temperatures in the 50's.