Take a Hike Day
Take A Hike Day is November 17th
Take a Hike Day is the day to get away from the home and office and get outdoors and go on a hike.
Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world. - John Muir
There is no definitive proof as to when Take a Hike Day originated or to whom was responsible for its inception. There seems to be a theory floating around that the holiday originated with National Bosses Day as a way to tell a bad boss what he could do -- hence, “Take a Hike.” That perhaps was not the best use of the holiday, so in an effort to make the day more beneficial for one’s life it has morphed into a day to actually get outdoors and hike. It is now heavily promoted by outdoor supply companies as well as national and local park services.
Tips for Taking a Hike on Take a Hike Day
If you’ve never hiked, and by this I mean actually followed a trail, not just taken a stroll, you may wish to follow a few safety guidelines:
#1 Know the Area and Suit-Up Accordingly
You should take the time to familiarize yourself with the terrain before jumping onto the first trail you encounter.
- How many miles will the trail you’re considering cover?
- Will there be steep inclines or dangerous drops?
- Are the trails wet or is it a dry season?
These questions help you to know how you will dress and who should or shouldn’t accompany you. Hiking with kids is great, but not when you might be outnumbered and facing dangerous cliffs on the journey.
Once you know more about the area, you can decide the appropriate way to dress for the hike. Check local weather apps, and plan for any inclement weather. Many trails flood instantly with the smallest amount of rain because the ground has been too dry for so long, so consider rescheduling any trips that might be facing rain in the forecast; especially if you are an inexperienced hiker! Now is definitely not the time to sport those $150 totally adorable rain boots; nope, save those for local galivants walking the dog around the park. If you’re ready to take the rainy day hike challenge check out this amazing article by the outdoor company REI: How to go Hiking in the Rain.
First, let’s consider a warm weather environment and then follow up with the brave cold weather hikers. If you know without a doubt that you’ll be hiking in the heat of hell; let’s say the Badlands in South Dakota during August, then this first list is the one you’ll need.
Hot Weather Attire:
- Dress lightly, in clothing that can breathe. Consider investing in UPF-rated clothing that guarantee a little extra layer of protection.
- Wear a Hat
- Bring a cooling cloth for your neck.
- Hydration Pack
- Hiking Shoes - Keens are great for if you encounter a bit of water because your feet will dry quickly, but they aren’t always the greatest hot weather choice. Consider a low rise hiking shoe with breathable socks if you’re going to be on dry, rough terrain.
Cold Weather Attire:
- Layers are important, but what fabric you wear is even more important. Perspiring under all those layers will trap moisture. Wear a synthetic or wool material that will dry fast! Cotton is not the right material here. It stays wet way too long. You’ll want something that wicks moisture away.
- Hiking Boots - Keeping your feet warm will definitely increase your comfort level and likelihood of you repeating the hike in the future.
- Gloves and Hat - Take time to cover your skin.
The American Hiking Society has some extra information on dressing for cold weather hikes: Cold Weather Hiking.
#2 Pack Lightly but Wisely
Taking the time to consider your needs is essential before heading out. It’s just not as easy as taking a walk around the neighborhood, which incidentally is could be considered a hike on this particular day. I’ve compiled a list of necessities for those of you wishing to venture outside your neighborhood cul de sac.
- Navigation - PLB’s (Personal Locator Beacons) are extremely helpful in the event you are faced with no cell service and an emergency. There are companies that allow you to rent the devices if you’re not quite ready to make the investment. If you are in the market, check out the Outdoor Gear Lab article, “How to Choose a Personal Locator Beacon.”
- Sun Protection - Sunglasses, lotions, hats etc.
- Flashlight - Even in you’ve planned a day trip, a small mag light might be the extra bit of power you need in the event you become lost and must spend the night on the trail.
- Basic First Aid Supplies
- Matches/Lighter - Don’t forget Smokey the Bear’s message on fire safety and “protect our forests.”
- Snacks and Hydration - Light snacks like trail mix and granola bars are great to have on hand. You should also bring along a hydration pack filled with fresh water.
- Multi-Purpose Swiss Army Type Knife - This is great for emergency repairs or essential needs.
The Clever Hiker has an excellent article, “10 Things You Should Bring on Every Hike,” that covers extensively the packing essentials for a day hike.
#3 Use the Buddy System
Last of all consider hiking in pairs! It’s always safer to have a hiking buddy in case there arise any difficulties. It also makes this holiday so much more fun when done with someone you enjoy.
Regardless of whether or not you are hiking with a buddy, you should always leave a plan with either a ranger or someone who is not going on the hike. They should know the trails you plan to take and the time you plan to return.
For a more comprehensive list of all things to consider before hiking, visit the following sites:
- American National Hiking Society
- National Park Service
- National Geographic: Stunning Under the Radar Hikes in Europe