Take a hike! (Seriously!)

Okay, so here we are in October, which seems like the appropriate time to talk about a good Fall activity like hiking. (Plus, I saw Sue’s tweet about hiking making you happier, and I thought I’d go with it.)

Hiking is one thing my family has always done a lot of. (Are you surprised, knowing my parents?) Depending on where you live, Fall is an awesome time to hike… it’s a little bit cooler, like here in North Carolina, or the leaves have started to change, like up in New England or in Canada.

Hiking is great exercise, and the sky’s the limit! You can go with your family or some friends. (One time, a bunch of guys from Dad’s basketball team came with us, and they kept having to duck under tree branches.) You can choose an easy walking hike, or something a little more challenging. It can be a couple of hours in a local park, or a full day. If you live in a city, you can do an ‘urban hike’ with a couple of historical or cultural landmarks as stops.

I’ve been hiking since before I could walk (Dad carried me around in some kind of open baby backpack), so I’ve learned some tips for a safe and fun hike:

* Always tell people where you’re going AND when you plan to be back.

* Dress in layers and bring an extra jacket or hoodie, just in case.

* Bring a cellphone. (But don’t only depend on it: you might be in an area where you can’t get a signal.)


* Bring a backpack with enough water and snacks.  Hiking can really use a lot of energy. Besides, it’s fun to stop and have lunch or snacks. Besides sandwiches and stuff like that, some of my favorite snacks are GORP (remember what that means from the book? ‘Good old raisins and peanuts’… but I add other stuff also), fruit, dark chocolate, almonds, granola bars, and cut up veggies. We usually make some stuff too, like muffins.

* Leave nothing behind. We always leave hiking trails the way we found them, which means bringing any wrappers and trash with us.

* Don’t forget your sunscreen. And a hat. (I always have a mini first aid kit too, or a least a few band aids!)

* Wear comfortable sneakers or hiking boots. Definitely don’t wear a brand new pair of shoes on a long hike, or you could have really sore feet and blisters by the end of it.

* Hug a tree! (Now that I got your attention…) ‘Hug a tree’ is a way to remember that if you ever get lost, don’t keep wandering around aimlessly. Stay where you are so you can be found easier. So, yeah, you can hang out by a tree. We always have a whistle with us, just in case we need to let someone know where we are.

Hiking is one of those things that you don’t necessarily think about doing with your friends, or coercing your family to do. But it really is fun.

(In fact, I wish I could be out hiking now, but homework calls!)

See you soon!


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