SPRING IS FINALLY here! As a family practice, we want to make sure that when our patients resume their favorite warm-weather outdoor activities like hiking, they do so as safely as possible. Then you’ll be able to get the most out of the nice weather and nature coming back to life, whether you’re hiking nearby in Sardine Canyon or going farther afield.
Welcome, New Hikers!
If you haven’t been much of a hiker in the past but are looking to start, it can be intimidating. You might feel like you’re not in good enough shape for hiking or are worried you’ll get lost in a canyon. Don’t fret; there’s a hike for everyone. Hiking isn’t a race, it’s simply a low-impact workout that lets you enjoy the company of friends while being immersed in nature.
Even easy hikes are great for helping with stress reduction and weight management. A family practice like ours is particularly interested in the value of hiking in decreasing the risk of many chronic conditions.
Packing for a Hike
One of the most critical components of a successful hike is the cargo you bring along. If this is your first hike, it should probably be a short one with a fairly easy grade, so you won’t need to pack too much. Keep in mind that everything you bring, you’ll have to carry with you the whole distance, so the goal is to pack light but include the essentials.
Here’s a good hiking gear list to get started:
- Navigation tools like a map, compass, or GPS. Know the locations of water sources and rest areas.
- Water. This is the most important item on the list. Your body needs water to perform well on a hike. Hydrate before hiking and sip water throughout the hike, even if it’s cold outside. As a family practice, we don’t want to hear that you got heat exhaustion on your hike!
- Food. Everyone is happier on a hike if there are snacks available, so pack a few things like granola bars, fruit, or trail mix.
- Layers and rain gear. The weather can surprise you, and the best way to prepare for that is by wearing layers so that you can add and remove them as needed, including a waterproof outer layer.
- Safety items. This can be as simple as a flashlight and a whistle to signal for help if you need it.
- First-aid. Your kit should definitely include blister treatment, especially if you’re breaking in your new hiking boots.
- Multi-purpose tool or knife.
- Sun protection. This is essential for daytime hikes in Utah. It’s best to hike on shaded trails if you’re out in the middle of the day. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and reapply sunscreen every two hours (or more if you’re sweating a lot).
- Trash bag. Instead of stuffing all your loose garbage into your backpack, it’s nice to have a separate plastic bag for wrappers and other trash until you get back.
- Bug spray. Being in nature can mean getting up close and personal to a lot of biting or stinging insects.
- Toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
You might not need all of these items if your planned hike is only a few hours long, but they’re essential for longer hikes.
Abundant Family Practice Is Here to Help
If you’d like more tips on how to prepare for a hike, we’re happy to offer more suggestions. We want our patients to get the most out of spring this year and enjoy some of the beautiful sights there are in Cache Valley, whether you’re taking a casual walk through Willow Park or traveling in search of the most challenging hikes. To learn more about Abundant Family Practice, check our business page, and make sure to get directions before you come see us.