It’s fall and you want to see the leaves change so badly that you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck quivering with excitement. Oh wait, it’s a mosquito! Ghah!
What is the problem? Not the nature type? We know how you feel. But chances are you have tons of outdoor adventures in your life, regardless of your appreciation of couches and warmth.
Since you’d rather not end your next hike plunging into a sinkhole, you might want to consider the following preventative measures…
1. Bring plenty of water
We know you hear this all the time, but we want you to actually listen this time: Without proper hydration, you will die. Three days is the most you can probably do without water. If possible, obtain a quality water storage device, such as a Camelwhich are nice because they carry a lot of water, keep it cool and can hold other important items (*see Tip #6).
2. Each hiking path is advanced
Most hiking trails have difficulty level designations, much like ski trails. But remember: in the hiking world, “beginner” trails are advanced and always involve climbing at least one rock; “intermediate” trails are for experts who carry ropes and wear helmets; and the “advanced” trails are for mountain goats. Stick to the “beginner” trails if you don’t have clogs.
3. Stay on track
Although the path may be difficult, it is safer to follow it, rather than submit yourself to the many perils of the wilderness. Once you deviate from the official path, you may run into a snake, walk through a spider web, or step into a doo-doo, all of which are terrifying and one of which smells bad.
Also, if you stray off the trail, you’ll disrupt the fragile ecosystem with your Cougars and possibly enrage a real Cougar.
Related: 13 Reasons (Not Including Bears) Why The Woods Should Terrify You
4. No Selfies
You look pretty silly taking a selfie in front of other humans, but when you take a selfie in the woods, you’re just a disgrace. Do you realize how pathetic that looks in the wild realm? You’re like a bird of paradise doing a nuptial dance for no one:
Also, you can die trying to take a selfie at the edge of a cliff.
5. Wear the right gear
First, wear good shoes. Not your good The shoes. We mean shoes that are good for hiking. There’s nothing worse than uncomfortable feet when you have a lot of walking to do.
Also, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are always good ideas, especially in the summer, and wearing layers is a good idea if you think you need to adjust your body temperature.
6. Pack wisely
You don’t want too many things in your backpack, but you also don’t want to forget the essentials: food, matches, a flashlight, a whistle, a multi-tool/knife and a map. will come in handy if you get hopelessly lost in a gorge.
Oh, bring a compass too, so you’ll only be temporarily lost in a gorge.
7. Fear of the dark
Much like Will Smith in “I Am Legend”, you must complete your quest before sunset or fall victim to marauding zombies – in your case, the “zombies” are raccoons, rummaging through your backpack and eating that Table Talk pie you been saving.
8. Use your street skills
The woods are a bustling metropolis of animals, insects and vegetation. That’s good news for city dwellers, as it means your street-sense will find some sort of application here. Three examples…
You know how you avoid eye contact with weirdos and creeps? Do the same with the snow leopards.
If someone is speeding past you, you should run too.
Public urination might not put you on the desert sex offender list, but it might enrage a Bigfoot. Pee wisely.
9. Hike with friends
Walk with a group, but not a group of idiots. It’s a delicate balance. You don’t want to hike alone and get stuck like James Franco in “127 Hours,” but you also don’t want to be stuck with a yahoo trying to jump over a crevasse in his flip flops.