So I love the open road, I love the open anything really – bars, restaurants. You get the picture. Part of being a free spirit is literally the overwhelming need to be somewhere, anywhere else for short periods of time. Often I do things on the spur of the moment. I will grab a bag, half packed from the time before and head on out.
Hitting the open trail is always an adventure. Hiking out and exploring somewhere with a mass of open land can make you feel you are the first to do it, ever, and that’s a real buzz but I am also aware that trekking out into the wilderness may well require some careful planning if I don’t intend to become lost, wandering around Lawrence of Arabia style, wearing my pants on my head and yelling for water.
So for safety sake, girls (and boys too!) make sure to think carefully about what you need.
- Think about where you’re going.
If you’re new to the call of the wild, look perhaps at somewhere with planned trails. These are perfect as they will have set routes for beginners and experts alike so you don’t find yourself out of your depth, waving your map around upside down and getting covered in poison ivy. Never a good look. This goes for wherever you are in the world. For example, in Texas, Big Bend National Park information lists all of the trails by length and difficulty with pictures too! This makes things easier if your map reading skills are letting you down.
- Safety First
I’m not going to suggest that you always have to take a buddy with you. These are one of the occasions though that you must must MUST (do you get the idea?) let people know where you are. A good phone signal may not always be dependable when getting sweaty on the open trail so having others understand your general whereabouts is an essential.
- Wearing it well
There is literally nothing more important if you intend to enjoy a good walk than a good pair of boots! These can make the difference between slipping them off at the end of your day to a satisfying rub on a job well done to peeling back the horrors that lie beneath the socks due to ill fitting boots. I’ve seen blisters, skin peeling and even lost toenails thanks to a poorly chosen item of footwear so invest well and try loads on before you buy. Good socks will add to the joy so look after your feet and the trek becomes a thing of wonder than a journey out of hell itself. Of course there is plenty more to think of, depending on how long you intend to be out there. Check online for a comprehensive list of what you need and remember – you need to understand your own limits. Carrying a backpack that weighs more than a small car isn’t going to suit everyone.
- Don’t forget your camera
Duckface selfies with the backdrop of a mighty canyon? That opportunity may never rise again and when you’re walking no two images are ever the same so don’t miss the chance to capture the moment.
The freedom of taking to your own two feet to explore is really worth the time it takes to plan so go think then go wild!