By. Wendy Davila
Even after a year of experimentation with our excessive spare time, some of us still haven’t found a new favorite activity. It’s time we wiggle out of our Netflix cocoon and start indulging in nature. Hiking is a great sport to do either leisurely or intensely. The best part is that you can either do it alone or with friends and family. Before we get you started on your adventure, there are a few things you should know about hiking and the apparel.
Hiking has become a popular hobby and is very easy to do with the help of some tech; there are some wonderful apps to map hiking routes depending on difficulty and location. Some even offer route reviews and additional information, like what is and isn’t allowed and where to find parking. PeakVisor, Gaia GPS, and AllTrails are some very user-friendly examples. AllTrails is my personal favorite because you can download the map onto your phone, and you’ll never get lost along your way again. Release your inner botanist with another handy application called Seek. This app helps you identify any plants or animals that you encounter as you walk.
Each trek has so much diversity, whether it be the people you encounter, the different ecosystems, or the varied animals that you may spot between the trees. Since every hike is so different, it’s essential to do your prep; research the weather and any obstacles you may encounter to be ready for anything. Don’t be the one wearing the too-tight pants who can’t climb up over the rock on the path. I know nature calls for a photoshoot, but try to stick to hiking apparel rather than your newest pair of high-waisted mom jeans and Doc Martens. Trust me, they won’t get you far. Always bring a sweater that you can tie around your waist if it gets chilly, some leggings that are on the thicker side and aren’t prone to ripping, and a shirt that allows movement. Some brands popular amongst hikers are Columbia, LuluLemon, Girlfriend Collective, and Old Navy.
Once you have chosen the perfect hike for you, check the terrain so you can ensure that your shoes will get you through the entirety of the walk. Some trails are easily completed with running shoes, and others would end up destroying your footwear. You want to make sure that your shoes are truly comfortable and will get you through those next seven miles. My go-to shoes for any trail with a bit of rock climbing or slopes have to be Columbia’s Newton Ridge boots. Versatile and waterproof, these bad boys will get you through any trail in Joshua Tree and The Narrows of Zion located in Utah. Hikes can easily be a workout but should be enjoyable as well, so make sure you’re supported from head to toe.
So now that we have covered comfort and support, let’s talk about the fuel our body needs. No matter the hike’s length or difficulty, please bring snacks! Sometimes snacking on your favorite fresh fruit with a light breeze as the sun touches your skin is exactly what your soul needs. I love junk food as much as the next person, but for hikes, natural whole-food options are your best bet. You don’t want to feel weighed down but rather filled with nutrients to keep you going. Opt for your favorite nuts, fruit, and protein bars. And don’t forget about hydration. Water is an ultimate must, and I even suggest taking some electrolyte supplements to ensure that you won’t become dehydrated along the way.
Finding local trails can be easy, but if you are looking for more of a day-trip, I advise you to look up nearby National Parks. I can guarantee that you have one in your radius, so take it as a sign to visit one! I still have many on my current wish-list of National Parks, but here are some of my recommendations.
Joshua Tree is located in Southern California in the Mojave Desert. Famous for its Joshua Tree and star-gazing, it is also a hub for rock climbers. Many go to boulder, and there is something for both beginners and the advanced. There are a few hikes with spectacular views of the park, but this park is most notable for its view of Skull Rock.
Yosemite is one of the most jaw-dropping National Parks, in my opinion. Camping out there and waking up to a sunrise amongst the towering mountains is a sight worth seeing. There is an abundance of hikes out there (with waterfalls!) to visit. You can spend a day there traveling around or spend a night at a campground or hotel.
Sequoia is just south of Yosemite and a must-see. The giant sequoia trees make you wonder if you are dreaming; their sight takes your breath away. With both walking and driving tours, there’s something for everyone; it’s something you have to see at least once in your lifetime. Try to time your visit from October to early March as, during this season, the park is graced by the presence of migrating monarch butterflies.
Zion is one of the many National parks in Utah and offers many amazing hikes such as Angel’s Landing, The Narrows Riverside Walk, and The Canyon Overlook trail.
Whether you decide to stay local and enjoy a hike with your friends and family or make it a road trip, make visiting a National Park the beginning of your hiking journey. Enjoy the sun, breathe the pure air, and escape the mundane.
Wendy Davila is an editorial intern who is knowledgeable in all things environment, sustainability and arts and culture.