5 Hiking Mistakes
Underestimating the Trail – You must always be realistic about what you are capable of. Remember we were all beginners and there is no shame in starting out easy and working your way up to more difficult trails, and it’s not a good idea to go and explore a new trail alone.
When hiking as a group, plan a trail that will cater for the least-fit person amongst you so that everyone will enjoy it. During your planning phase, use all the different resources available to determine the difficulty, see the length and elevation of your selected trail before you go.
Failing to Prepare – Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your trail isn’t dangerous – even on an easy trail, a broken ankle combined with cold weather could mean the difference between life and death.
Check the weather beforehand. Take appropriate clothing including something warm, and make sure that someone knows where you’re going and what time you’ll be back – ALWAYS fill in the trail or mountain register where they are available. Check out the recommended 10 Hiking Essentials that you should take with you on every trip.
Going Off-Trail – Shortcuts are rarely a good idea – even if you’ve hiked a trail multiple times, it’s never a good idea to go off-path. It’s easy to get lost or injured, and when you go off trail it makes it more difficult for the rescuers to find you. Remember shortcuts usually lead to erosion.
Abandoning the Plan – Ensure you know what time sunset will occur on your chosen trail, and calculate what time you need to turn around to get back to the car park or your campsite with time to spare.
It might be disappointing to not complete a trail, but having to overnight in the wild (or trying to find your way back in the dark) can be dangerous.
Hiking Alone – Solo hiking isn’t necessarily dangerous, but not telling someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back could be. Always try to hike with others whenever possible, and if you have to go alone, take extra care and have an emergency plan.