November 17 is National Take a Hike Day. Guess what the best way to celebrate is?
The American Hiking Society established the national day as a way to encourage people to spend some time outside enjoying over 60,000 miles of trails that make up the National Trails System.
Unsure of where to go? Where to start? The application AllTrails is available for Apple and Google devices. AllTrails shows you trails in your area, and you can even read reviews to see what other people are saying about them. This is an excellent resource for checking out trails you’ve never been to or if trail access changes by the season.
If you’re new to hiking, it’s important to be aware of some basic hiking safety:
- Hike with a buddy.
- Try out new trails with your friends and family! Stay safe by having a hiking partner.
- If you don’t have a buddy, make sure someone knows where you’re hiking and how long it should take you.
- If you’re a more experienced hiker, you might head out on your own to a trail you’ve been to before. Be sure to send a text to a friend or family member. “Hey! I’m headed to Bulls Bay. I should be done by noon.”
- Bring plenty of water!
- Even for quick hikes, water is crucial. Stay hydrated and bring a snack too.
- Stay on the trail.
- It’s important to determine how your trail is marked before setting out. Most trails are marked with something called a ‘Blaze’ or ‘Trail-blaze.’ Keep your eye out for the markers throughout your hike, even if the path is well-worn and seems obvious.
- Wear appropriate gear for the terrain.
- Consider the terrain, weather, and incline, and prepare accordingly. There’s nothing worse than getting your nice running shoes soaked on a wet trail or rolling your ankle on a tree root because you didn’t wear your boots. If you’re unsure what kind of gear you need, go to your local outdoor store, like REI, and an employee can help you get started.
- Check the forecast.
- We mentioned this already but check the weather! If there’s a chance of rain, don’t let it keep you from hiking but shove a raincoat and dry pair of socks in your bag.
- Take a map.
- Some trails will have paper maps at the trailheads. Take one of those. If not, check online. Pro tip: Screenshot the maps so you can access them even if you don’t have service. You can also follow trails on AllTrails using GPS but be careful because you may not be able to see where you are on the map if you lose service.
Above all, enjoy your time outside! And do it safely. Post pictures of your excursion using #NationalTakeAHikeDay on social media and see what hikes other people decided to take. A huge thank you to the employees and volunteers who help maintain these trails so everyone is able to enjoy them. Remember, there are always opportunities to volunteer to help keep trails accessible to everyone.
As a member of the North Florida Green Chamber of Commerce, Medcom always encourages our employees to get outside and get involved with local sustainability efforts. You can find out more about our affiliations and partnerships on our Affiliations page.