By: Kim Regala, Staff Writer
It’s important that we continue to take care of both our physical and mental health in light of the recent COVID-19 developments. One of the ways I’ve managed to maintain my sanity throughout all of this is by going on weekly hikes. It’s a great way to stay active, avoid large social gatherings, and keep in touch with nature. If you’re someone who has never embarked on a hike, as winter comes to an end and Vancouver welcomes the sun, now, more than ever, is the perfect time to do so. I’ve only been hiking for a few years now, but here are a few tips I’ve picked up that may help if you’re looking to explore a little bit of British Columbia’s vast wilderness.
- Always bring food and water.
One of the biggest mistakes I made as a beginner hiker was embarking on a trip without food and water. I once recklessly hiked Garibaldi Lake — a five-hour hike on an 18-kilometre trail — without packing myself anything to eat or drink. I still remember hiking back down feeling as if I was hallucinating the whole thing. I’m sure most of you would not be as irresponsible as I was, but it can be easy to think that you won’t need to pack much, especially if you’re doing a much shorter hike. In any case, it’s important to refuel your body as you partake in any physical activity. Regardless of whether or not you’re thirsty, taking a water break is a good way to stay hydrated and energized. As for packing snacks, my go-to’s are fresh fruit and protein-filled granola bars.
- Wear the appropriate shoes and clothing.
On my most recent hike, I passed by an individual who was having a lot of trouble making his way down the path. He began to complain to his hiking partner, crying out that “these Balenciaga shoes were NOT made for hiking!” Trust me, I definitely understand the hustle of putting on a nice, Instagrammable outfit to match your equally Instagrammable view. However, as even the most beginner of trails may take at least an hour, it’s important to feel comfortable throughout the whole trip. Wearing clothes that you can move freely in and putting on a good pair of runners or hiking boots makes all the difference. Not only will you feel the most at ease, you will also ensure that you are keeping your feet and body safe and in good condition.
- Remember that it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
This last tip is possibly one of the most overused cliches, not just in hiking but in life in general, but it could not be more relevant. In my earlier hiking days, I would get so frustrated and impatient with having to travel for such long distances just to see a nice view. However, it wasn’t until I began to focus more on my surroundings, rather than the length of the trail, that I started to see hiking in a new light. Of course, the views can be the most rewarding part of the experience. However, there is a lot of beauty to be witnessed during the trek itself. One of my favourite hikes is the Elk Mountain trail. While it boasts an incredible mountain view, walking past fields of flowers and being surrounded by the mist and tall trees on the way there was what really engrossed me. Now, I find it much easier to hike for countless hours, as I can enjoy passing the time by soaking in the journey along the way.