After living in Canada for six years now, I have realized that Canadians take full advantage of the summer months after being indoors because of the cold, brutal winters. When the warmer weather hits, all Canadians are getting back outdoors and into nature; may that be through their local parks nearby or heading to either a National Park or the Provincial Parks to camp, hike and live back outdoors - which may I say, I LOVE! This passion for getting outdoors and living your best summer life is incredible because we all know that cold draft will be coming once again in a few short months. So here are some helpful tips for when you are back outdoors:
One: You'll need bug spray. Do I need to say anymore? We have all been personally attacked by horseflies and mosquitoes; bring the bug spray no matter where you are going.
Two: Hydration is critical in these warmer months. Always make sure you bring water with you on all your adventures. You'll never know when you'll need it for yourself or someone else.
Three: Dress appropriately, don't try to be fashion-forward by wearing cute shoes or denim shorts. Always wear comfortable clothes; I believe that a pair of shoes will either make or break your outdoor activities. Nobody wants to be hiking in uncomfortable shoes that are hurting your feet.
Four: Snacks, like water, you'll need to keep your body fuelled up with nutrition. May that be a healthy snack or something that isn't healthy, but you love eating - my go-to snack on adventures are Fuzzy peaches candies; I LOVE them! So be prepared beforehand to pack your favourite snacks, or while driving, stop at a grocery store or a gas station to grab your snacks. Also, it's never a bad idea to over-pack on your snacks because you never know how hungry you might get on the trail.
Five: If you are hiking for a long time, keep a positive outlook. Even when you are out of breath and your legs feel like jelly, don't start hating on the trail or your fitness level - remember you are out here doing it and pushing your body for the better.
Six: Going back to our last point, if your legs feel like jelly and you're out of breath, take a small break to rehydrate and refuel your body. You want to finish the trail, not have you crawling out of the trail screaming, "save me!" ... it's not a good look. Take as many breaks as your body needs; it will help your body to keep going.
Seven: When packing your hiking bag, pack clothes. You might think this is dead weight or taking too much space in your bag, but you don't know if the weather will change the further you hike. I always pack a pair of leggings (if I am wearing shorts or vice versa, pack shorts if I am wearing leggings) and bring a sweater and a rain jacket if you can fit it into your bag.
Eight: Research the trail's difficulty before heading out; have a downloaded map on your phone if you lose service and get lost. Downloading the map can be a lifesaver, or if you want to be "old fashioned," take a map with you.
Nine: If you are not overly confident hiking solo yet, bring a friend with you; having company can make a world of difference when hiking for a long time. And if you are a confident solo hiker, ALWAYS remember to send your location to a friend or family member before hitting the trail, so they know where you are hiking. If you want to go the extra mile and send them the trail name, how long the hike should take, and tell them, you'll message them once you're off the trail and back into your vehicle.
Ten: Capture the moments - either taking pictures on your phone, on a disposable camera or a digital camera. Capturing the moments is such a fantastic takeaway from the hike; even if all you remember is your legs aching for days after and the mud on the bottom of your shoes, having these photos will make you grateful for having those moments to hike in natures beauty.
Now that you've got ten helpful tips for hitting those trails this summer, where will your first summer hike be?
Also, here is an extra tip, if you wanted to, you could put a first aid kit in your vehicle so that if you needed it or anyone else, you've got it handy for the end of the trail.