Hiking

What You Need to Know About Hiking Out in the Wilderness

What You Need to Know About Hiking Out in the Wilderness

Hiking out in the wilderness is an adventure

Hiking out in the wilderness can be both scary and exhilarating at the same time. When traveling the world, there are a lot of new wonders and gems that you may never experience in your lifetime until you decide to go out into the wilderness.

Sometimes… you may never know what you might encounter until you try. Hiking is an adventure, a virtue, and a freedom that you can only experience live and close up.

Here are some things that you should know while hiking out in the wilderness.

Things you should know

1) Know what to do when you encounter wild animals

Bears in the wilderness

You’re out in the wild! Sooner or later, you are bound to come across wildlife. You’re now in their natural habitat, after all. With some knowledge of what to do, and if you practice basic trail safety, you can fear less and focus on enjoying the nature around you instead. As a general rule of thumb, it is always smart to research where you are going and what type of wildlife you may find so you can be prepared.

For example, if you are hiking or camping in bear country, it’s important that you pack away anything that smells (perfumes, cosmetics, lotions, food). If you are car camping or hiking in a popular area, there will sometimes be bear lockers for your use, but you’ll need to do some research to find out. If there aren’t any, it’s worthwhile investing in a bear canister or bear bag ahead of time.

And, if you do come across a wild animal, whether it’s a bear, mountain lion, or rattlesnake, know what to do. It’s important not to panic, never turn your back, and react appropriately based on the type of animal it is.

2) Be mindful of poisonous plants and insects

Poison Ivy

While most plans and insects are harmless, there are some that are… less friendly, to put it politely. As a result, it’s important that you take extra precaution when out in nature. Know what common poisonous plants look like, such as poison ivy, poison oak, and sumac, so you can avoid them when you see them. If possible, wear longer pants and socks to protect your legs from brushing up against any irritable plants. Finally, if traveling in an area you know to be buggy, particularly where you’ll be near a still body of water, bring bug repellent to avoid mosquitoes. For even more heavy duty bug repellent, try spraying your clothes and gear with Permethrin ahead of time (effective against disease-spreading ticks, mites, and spiders).

3) Read the signs

Trail sign width=

Some beginners may take detours on trail and do not follow the same common paths that others use. Not only can this lead to dangerous situations where hikers get lost or step on unstable ground, it can also be harmful for the environment that you’ve gone out to enjoy. Make sure to always read the signs and use common sense when hiking!

4) Watch your step

Cracked in the Earth's surface

Watch your step since your hiking will likely take you over steep climbs, cracks, and rocky terrain. Tread with caution whenever you go up steep hills and back down as there is always a chance of slipping and falling. Remember to always keep track of where you are going and read the signs.

5) When possible, hike and venture out as a group

Hiking with your friends/loved ones

It is better to be in a group than be alone. Remember to always stay as a group and enjoy the scenery together when hiking. There are many awesome things in life that are better when shared with family and friends. Hiking is just one of them!

That said, if you do plan to hike solo, it’s especially important to take extra precautions like letting someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back. If you can, stick to populated trails where you can ask for help if needed. These small measures can go a long way in making sure you stay safe.

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