Tips To Be A Day Hiking Champ
Let’s be real, day trips are certainly my cup of tea. My thoughts align with author Frank McCourt when he once noted “One day a week should be set aside for field trips.”
Life is just more colourful and lively with a day hike or two or ten!
And since there are no long trips planned this year (booo!), for my own sanity’s sake the focus is on more day trips and hikes like my favourite hike or exploring towns like Perth.
I’m known for waking at oh-dark-stupid to catch the sun rise and other times I’ll take off after work to enjoy a day hike. It’s random, often last minute, and always worth it.
So how do you become a day hike champ? Here are my mini adventure tips!
Everyone needs a ‘go bag’
I know, I know, saying ‘go bag’ is such an army term, ha ha, but some things never leave you. Anywho, it’s partical. *shrugs shoulders*
I have an old MEC duffle bag that I keep in the trunk of the car filled with everything I need to be ‘hiking ready’. That way if it’s a gorgeous day and I feel like taking a detour after work – I can. Or maybe it’s a new hike on the way home from visiting out of town friends. Having a ‘go bag’ allows you to say yes more often to hiking whims when the opportunity is there!
An example of what is packed in my ‘go bag’:
- hiking boots
- gators, crampons, snowshoes, hiking poles
- various maps and a compass
- packable down blanket
- snacks, electrolytes, and water
- extra clothing, warm clothing, sunglasses
- deodorant and a brush (mostly because I tend to runs errands on the way home)
- day pack (water bladder, first aid kit, emergency blanket, matches, washroom kit, rope, knife, hat, lip balm, feminine products, cellphone charge pack, headlamp)
“Carry as little as possible, but choose that little with care.” ~ Earl Shaffer
Your own personal hiking ‘go bag’ might look a little different. Maybe it’ll include a GPS locator if you’re a big mountain kind of person (we only have little hills in Ottawa, ha ha). You might need bear spray. Perhaps extra clothing.
The beauty is that you’re only packing this once and leaving it in the truck…so there’s no stress or worries if you decide to be a little spontaneous.
Be spontaneous and flexible
Sometimes we feel a little confined by routine or expectations but it is ok to break out of that mold! In fact, some of the best memories (and stories) come from those random fun filled last minute decisions.
- break up your routine by going for a hike after work
- take a mental health day and spend it connecting with nature
- play hookie with the kids and take them to an interpretive trail teaching them about the outdoors and wildlife
- shake up your weekend by taking Saturday to do errands/cleaning/meal prep to clear up Sunday so that you can embrace moving meditation (aka hiking)
“Anywhere is ‘within walking distance’.” – Anonymous Hiker
What else can you do?
- keep an open mind
- ask the locals
- have a turn around time
- take a wrong turn
- follow your gut
Now here I am telling you to grab hold of your wanderlust…but within reason. As always, safety should always be considered.
Safety, safety, safety. Always. I really can’t say that enough, because really, there is no reason not to put safety first. Basically, hike responsibly so that you can hike again another day.
Things to consider:
- take a physical map (aka the original google)
- have an extra phone charger on hand
- always carry a first aid kit
- water (1-3L)
- emergency blanket and a car blanket
- always message someone before and after a hike (incl parks office)
- medical card in wallet
Follow the internet crumbs
So how do you find these little gems of hiking trails, points of interest, hidden spots? You follow the trail trail of internet crumbs…
- visit facebook pages of national parks, provincial parks, and/or outdoor outfitters for fresh ideas
- follow the hastag by searching out #waterfalls, #hotsprings, #hiking, #cliffs, #lookout…etc along with your location on instagram
- find hiking groups on social media and search their pages or join their group
- ask friends or drive into a little town, find the nearest coffee shop and ask them
Day hike wrap up
That’s pretty much all the advice I have off the top of my head, hopefully that helps! Who knows, maybe you will be inspired to take a day hike and if you are please share them on social media or by commenting on this post! By sharing, you might encourage others to get out for their own day hike explorations.