I get bored VERY quickly, so though I enjoy going to the gym I’ve found that I’m finding balance taking my training outdoors, in preparation for our Kilimanjaro accent. Hiking and walking trails (even urban ones), especially ones with a prize along the route (waterfalls etc) are nice breaks from my office and a welcome change of scenery from the gym.
If you follow me on Instagram or SnapChat @CaribbeanPot you would have seen some of the video clips and images I’ve been sharing from our #Gallivanting escapades. I’ve always been an outdoors kinda fella, even from my early days on the islands to when I first moved to Canada and my cousin took me to Webster’s Falls on a mild Spring day after my first encounter with a Canadian winter. Since then I look forward to the warmer months when I could spread my wings a bit and reconnect with nature as I did as a kid.
Over the years I come to the conclusion that whether you’re hiking challenging terrain, a relatively easy trail or walking an urban setting, you MUST respect the environment or you’ll run into problems, with potentially harmful outcomes.
- Don’t litter! Besides being an ass and causing harm to the environment, garbage on a trail could be an unforeseen hindrance and lead to falls etc.
- Wear the CORRECT shoe for the terrain. Only today I found myself on a trail with a lot of loose gravel and sharp rocks. Unfortunately I was wearing my running shoes with thin soles, so it was a rather painful experience.
- Ensure the shoes you’re wearing are in good condition. Check your laces, look for broken stitching and soles which are coming apart. The last thing you want happen is your shoe ripping apart on you.
- Wear the right clothing and necessary sunscreen etc. Even if you’re hiking though a wooded area, you can still experience sun burn and insects can be a nuisance certain times of the day/year.
- If you’re into photography and creating videos as I am, you’ll want to have you equipment in a protective bag (padded and water proof). I’d also recommend having a good point and shoot camera on the ready for surprise encounters with critters. Remember to have such a camera on a harness of some sort as it’s easy to drop things while on rugged terrain.
- Water.. keep hydrated!
- Stop for breaks.. and to enjoy the scenery.
- Remember that you have to save energy for the return voyage. Sometimes we get caught up admiring the beauty of the backdrop and loose track how far away we are from our staring point.
- Use clearly defined trails (and stick to them) if you’re new to the area.
- Leave the area as you find it. Don’t cut trees or bushes down, don’t move logs, don’t try to be creative and stack rocks as if you’re a native North American. Let nature be it’s own artist.
- Stay away from ledges, cliffs and other potentially dangerous areas. Don’t get yourself into “selfie” problems.
- The only thing you should remove are pictures and videos! Well, unless you’re like me and like finding wild raspberries!
- Be courteous to others on the trail. Leave room for others (don’t walk as a group spread apart), listen for the sounds of cyclists and people moving at a faster rate than you.
- Try to go as a group and do tell someone where you’re going and how long you’ll be.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged in the event you need to make or receive an emergency call.
- Pack water and a snack (I usually have band-aids too)
- If you’re taking a backpack make sure it’s fitted on your back/shoulders correctly, well padded, a weight you can handle and made from a durable + breathable material (so your back does not overheat).
- Offer help and ask for help if you run into issues. By forcing yourself (if injured) can lead to bigger problems.
- Pay attention to time/darkness. Remember that if you’re hiking through a shaded or canopy area, it will darker in there faster.
At the end of the day it’s all about being smart and respecting the environment, so you can have a safe and enjoyable hike. If you’re like me and you use your city as an urban hiking trail, do pay attention to traffic and wear clothing that motorists can easily spot you in.