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Other people want to start this hobby

Hiking

Hiking in the great outdoors is a truly exhilarating experience. Hiking takes you to the most beautiful places in nature and gives you a great workout at the same time. There are overnight hiking trips as well as one day excursions.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Hiking resources. We have a Hiking forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Hiking how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Hiking books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Hiking and Related Terms


Hiking is one of the most beneficial and healthy hobbies anyone could choose to adopt. The fresh air and sun, aerobic walking, and up-close exposure to natural features such as streams, forests and mountainsides help to compensate for many of the physical and mental stresses or the work week.




Hiking can be combined with an endless number of outdoor activities. It can be on trail or off; it can be done as day hikes or overnight backpacking. But hiking can also be paired with other activities, such as canoeing, kayaking, river rafting, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or mountain climbing. It can be combined with horseback riding and/or with pack animals, such as llamas (which are considered earth-friendly, since their feet are softer on the trail than hooves).




Backpacking Equipment


First of all, one needs something to carry the equipment in. This can be simple fisherman`s jacket or a daypack for short hikes, or a full backpack. Next, consider which gear or equipment you’ll need for your particular trip. While hiking is considered different from backpacking (overnight camping), even for a day trip it is prudent to pack at least rudimentary items, should the unexpected happen (including being forced to stay the night, getting lost, or accidents). Hiking equipment may be put into several categories, such as items worn, items carried, essential gear, food and drink, and miscellaneous.




Geocaching


A new craze for hiking buffs is an activity called geocaching. Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a Tupperware container or ammo box) containing a logbook. Larger containers can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. Geocaching is most often described as a "game of high-tech hide and seek," sharing many aspects with benchmarking, orienteering, treasure-hunting, letterboxing, and waymarking. Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica. As of June 22, 2010, there are over 1,108,858 active geocaches around the world. If you access the Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site online, you can participate in local searches by entering a zip code, or you can hunt in larger areas, nationally or internationally. There are organized geocaching events hosted internationally. And, since this aspect of the hobby uses new technology, there are GPS devices that come with pre-loaded geocache listings. And yes, there’s an iPhone application for that.




Hiking with Your Dog


A growing number of hikers will not consider hiking without their dogs. Many companies now specialize in the manufacture of dog-sized packs, collapsible bowls, and even booties for rough or cold terrain. The packs come in various sizes so that the dogs may carry their own food and/or bowls. If the dog is employed to carry food or supplies belonging to the human hikers, it is referred to as a storage dog, (not to be confused with a guide dog or service dog). Here are some tips for hiking with your canine best friend. First, have a good understanding of how much exercise your dog can handle. Some dogs tend to be only “sprinters,” and are best at the more level, pre-established trails. An hour or two (or even less) from start to finish may be all they can possibly handle. This is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if you remember that dogs were bred for different purposes. It is important to remember not to push your dog beyond its current ability level—you can always increase the distances with time. In fact, hiking is a great preventative for a number of physical and behavioral canine disorders. Have your veterinarian check your dog’s health before making any big changes in its activity level.




Before your first hike, make sure your dog has a collar with identification tags (including one with your vet’s phone number). If you have a larger breed, don’t feel bad about having your dog wear a properly sized pack so he can carry his own supplies. You can your dog used to a pack by having him wear an empty one on short walks or around the house (with supervision). Add weight gradually, and don’t forget to include treats so your friend will begin to associate the pack with positive experiences and adventures. A rule of thumb is that a dog can comfortably carry 25% of its body weight. Don’t put anything breakable in the pack, and make sure everything inside it is sealed in plastic bags. Common contents of a dog pack are food, small amounts of water, and poop bags. If you’re bringing your dog along, it is especially important that you remember a first aid kit for your own pack (include a copy of your vet’s number).




On the hike, take responsibility for what your dog does. Many hikers don’t like having to share the trail with dogs. You should always be a friendly ambassador for all dog owners while on a hike. Practice “low impact hiking,” mainly meaning 1) Don’t leave dog feces on the trail, 2) Only hike where dogs are allowed, 3) Stay on the trail, 4) Don’t allow your dog to chase wildlife, 5) Step off the trail and wait with your dog while other hikers pass, 6) Don’t allow your dog to bark at those who pass, and most important, 7) Always use a leash—this will keep everyone safe on the trail.