Here are some of the tips and tricks to get you start hiking.
I remember that time in my life when I was all by myself and had no friends left in Atlanta. Most of my friends were from College and they were mostly international. Many had left after the graduation, or had moved to work somewhere else.
At that time, I was just so foreign both to Atlanta and to the outdoor activities. When I started to hike, I didn’t know much where to start, what to get, and where to go. But I have learnt so much after that time.
1. Safety always comes first. Go with a group. Find your local outdoor communities.
Especially for a girl like me, going somewhere obscure and remote by myself is not ideal. Better be safe than sorry right? And yes, there are options!
There are many outdoor communities that you can join. You can find them online. When I started, I went with well known ones like Sierra Club (Georgia Chapter: http://www.sierraclub.org/georgia/outings) and Atlanta Outdoor Club. There are a lot more out there. Look online!
I can totally recommend both of them. They are really nice people. It is also a great way to make friends who have the same outdoor passions which soon (I believe) you will have too.
For me being a woman, I try not to go hiking in a remote area totally by myself. But if you think you have much more experience, know the trail very well, and you want to go to hike in a remote area by yourself, I suggest to bring a pepper spray with you. Even the incident is rare, it is good to have some kind of protection when you need it.
2. “But I want to go solo as a beginner.” Yes, you can do that too. Let’s pick the right trail then.
We do have some of those times when you just don’t want to make new friends, and you just want to be able to go whenever you want. I get it. I have those times too. So what you can do is to pick the right trail. Choose one that is not too obscure or remote. There are so many trails that you always can see people walking their dogs, jogging, and passing by every so often. I listed several examples where I liked to hike by myself down below.
Stone Mountain Park – Stone Mountain, GA | More info of my review on Yelp
Kennesaw Mountain – Kennesaw, GA | More info of my review on Yelp
Jones Bridge Trail – Johns Creek, GA | More info of my review on Yelp
There are a lot more trails out there that is good for you to go by yourself. Do some research before you go. And when you’re there, paying attention around your surrounding is always a good practice.
3. Gauge yourself.
You should know a little bit about yourself especially how far you think you can hike, and your speed. So when you pick the trail and the route, you know that you will not over do yourself. And you know that you can finish it. Knowing your speed is also important. You want to make sure that you can finish your hike and get back to where you started before it gets dark.
Start from something easy, so you learn more about your strength and your speed. Then you can adjust and add more miles when you feel more comfortable.
Those 3 trails I have listed above are good for beginners. You have options to take a short route or long route.
4. Pick a good pair of boots and socks.
You want to have a good pair of comfortable boots and socks so that you can enjoy your time on your hike. Good hiking boots and socks can be very expensive. Buy those when they are on sale is the key.
A good store we always go to is REI. They have very good return policy. Because of that, people will return the gear that they sometimes have just lightly used. Therefore, REI has a yearly sale event called Scratch and Dent Sale, which offers really good deal on the used gear for their members. To become a member, you just have to buy a membership with them for $20. And it is worth it. (We don’t get pay to say this. This is our honest review.)
If you’re new into this, this sale event is a good place for you to go and get your starting gear. Even the gear are used, but you always can find good stuff with a pretty good deal there.
5. Dress in layers especially during winter.
Don’t wear bulky cloths like heavy and thick jacket. When you hike, your body temperature will go up and you will get hot. But when you stop, it will go down. Your body temperature will change constantly based on the current activity during your hike. It helps if you are dressed in layers, so that you can adjust your layer based on your current body temperature.
6. Don’t forget the rest of the gear.
A daypack, food, snacks, and a bottle of water.
7. Go out and enjoy!!!
Hopefully making you aware of how to hike safely won’t scare you to go out to enjoy the nature. We do believe that there are actually more danger for us just living in the city than hiking somewhere in the nature. Even the chance is small, but we feel that it is important to make you aware.
We hope that you will find this article helpful. Please feel free to let us know if you have any tips and tricks that you also wanted to share. We would love to hear from you!