Tips for the practice of hiking
I have a friend who, when we go to the mountains, always tells me that there are four phases that must be fulfilled inexcusably in order to succeed in an ascent or a hiking route: go, go up, go down and come back. I believe, from my humble opinion, that he is missing one, the great forgotten one, to prepare the route.
The preparation of the activity that we are going to carry out is fundamental, there are no excuses, our security and in some cases our life depends on it. It doesn't matter if we do it as a couple or in a group, if there are people who know the terrain, if everyone is a phenomenon or if someone else is the one who organizes, proposes and manages the activity... we are responsible for ourselves and it is not a bad idea to be aware of where we are going.
Let's apply common sense and analyze in the comfort of our own home some basic questions about the activity we want to carry out before being on the ground, regardless of whether we are the promoters of the activity or not:
Time of the calendar chosen to carry out this activity, it is not the same in summer as in winter.
- The duration of the sunshine varies giving us more or less hours of margin to make the route.
- The environmental and meteorological conditions, we must take into account the forecasts that we are going to find, temperatures, storms, warnings ...
The details and information about the route we are going to take are vital for making decisions before and during the tour.
- Terrain conditions, snow, mud, or ice can make a simple route suitable for the whole family a real problem.
- Type of terrain, it is not the same to walk on an arid surface, than rocky or grassy.
- Control of the route, knowing in advance if it runs along roads or trails, whether they are marked or not, the unevenness to overcome, the areas of greatest risk through which we will pass as edges, or cut, as well as whether it is linear or circular, are particularities so obvious that sometimes we go unnoticed.
Other issues to consider are
- The possible places to stay overnight if necessary, for example shelters, and whether these shelters are kept or not.
- The fauna and flora that inhabit or are characteristic of the area. Surely we know someone who has returned home with a good hives, caused by rubbing against some plant of beautiful appearance, but with which it is better to keep the distance.
- The altitude, the wading of rivers, the risks that the area entails such as landslides, are aspects that every route brings with it and that although we should have already taken into account when collecting the information on the route, given its importance should be highlighted again.
- If we encounter problems on the ground, knowing beforehand aspects such as possible escape routes that could take us to a nearby population centre, the areas where telephone coverage is most likely to be available and even if a rescue were necessary, knowing how and to whom we should go is vital in any activity carried out in the natural environment, however simple it may seem.
With this information that we can get in specialized guides, on the Internet and through friends who have been in the area, without forgetting the magazines, specific maps, or photographs, and once we have clear if the route is appropriate and we can go to prepare the necessary equipment for our activity, material and clothing among other things.
Another very important factor when it comes to any mountain or trekking activity is the choice of group.
- It must be taken into account that when we do activities in a group all the people do not have the same level and the experiences can be very different, so we must know our capacity to undertake the objective of the group, even putting in knowledge of the most veteran, our mountaineering curriculum, so that they advise us whether to do such activity or not. We must never forget that "the strength of a group is equal to that of the weakest of its members".
With these words, small advice and reflections, I do not intend under any circumstances to give lessons to anyone, nothing further from my intention, but to draw attention to the fact that the mountain, that is to say nature, is a changing environment that can surprise us and that we must try to know in order to understand it little by little, and try to minimize the risks, thus improving our safety and that of the people who accompany us.
As my wife tells me every time I walk out the house door, to go to the mountain...
Have fun and be careful!