Virginia is not only for Lovers, it's for hikers too...
It was a real bummer living in Virginia for 11 months and only realizing on the 10th month that Virginia has some of the greatest hiking trails in the world. I've never really been a hiker. I remember going on my last hike in the fifth grade, and I remember how much it sucked. I kept complaining how tired I was, and I kept asking how far we still needed to go. I think back on that day while hiking now, and then I think about why I enjoy hiking so much now... It's the beauty. The beauty of the air that smells like nature, how the breeze feels different while walking between the trees, how the sky looks so much more blue, and how the sounds make my soul feel at home...
I am not a Hiking Guru, not even close, but I do think I have a few good tips for beginners. So here they are:
Choose Wisely: When looking for a trail, don't choose a difficult trail as your first one. Look for trails that can be done in less than a day. One that doesn't require you to climb on any steep cliffs or walk over any broken bridges. Choose Wisely!
Tell Someone: Today's technology is so developed that your family and friends can track your every move. But I'm an old soul, I always think about the what if... what if your smart watch breaks, what if your phone goes off or has no signal. That's why you should always tell someone when you go hiking. Tell them where you're going and when you're expecting to be back. Just in case.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: A very important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Hiking isn't just walking for 30 minutes or so. Hiking involves a lot of walking, in the sun. In order for it to be a fun experience, you need to drink a lot of water.
Perfect timing: Timing is everything. The best time to go hiking, in my experience, is early in the morning. Especially if you are not familiar with the trail.
Don't go alone: Always try to take a friend. Not only to be safe, but you'll enjoy it more with some company.
Snack Away: Your body needs fuel to keep moving. While hiking your body burns tons of fuel, so you need to keep the snacks coming. You don't need to spend money on fancy snacks. Any snacks high in sugar, salt, and carbs will serve you well.
Gear up: You don't really need much to get started, start with a water bottle, a small backpack and comfortable shoes. As you grow as a hiker, your gear need will change, but for now, use what you have on hand. And don't forget to pack your first aid kit.
It's not much, but it's enough to get you started.
"You need special shoes for hiking... and a bit of a special soul as well." - Emme Woodhull