Spanning for over 2,600 miles, the Pacific Crest Trail is currently the longest in the United States. But, did you know that plans are underway to connect the Appalachian and the Pacific Crest trails?
The Project is being called the New American Perimeter Trail, and once completed, will encompass over 12,000 miles of interconnected trails. This length would rival that of The Great Trail, otherwise known as the Trans Canada Trail which runs nearly 15,000 miles.
Across the globe, there are numerous regions of rugged wilderness and there are trails that wind through much of it. For a hiking enthusiast, this is paradise. But, though hiking seems like a simple pastime, it takes a good deal of planning.
Here, we’ll outline how to plan for a hike on a long stretch of trail.
Get Your Gear Ready
No matter where you’ll be hiking, there are several universal items that all hikers need to bring along with them. So, even if you’re planning on traveling around Budapest, after you leave the city, you’ll want to bring along the right gear.
While you want to be as prepared as possible for any situation that might arise, you also don’t want to overpack for a hiking trip. Remember you’ll have to carry all of your things on your back, including any trash.
The following list includes only the essentials:
- Water (capacity to carry at least a gallon per day)
- Water filtration device
- Firestarter (matches, lighter or flint and striker)
- Proper footwear
- Change of socks
The quantities of some of the above items will need to be taken into consideration depending on how far you’ll be hiking. For a day hike, you don’t really need to pack extra food and water, but these things are good to have in case you find yourself injured along the trail with no means of calling for help.
Map and Compass
Fortunately, we live in an advanced technological society that offers us navigational tools such as GPS capabilities. While anyone can access these tools on a smartphone today, these devices might not be as reliable as you think.
There are still numerous dead zones across the world, and many places where a signal is weak or a GPS is ineffective. To combat this, learning land navigation skills becomes essential for any would-be hiker.
No matter where you’re planning to hike, you want to get a map of the area and learn how to use a compass. Great maps to use are of the topographical variety. These will show you changes in elevation and terrain and are more accurate when it comes to plotting your location and possible return routes.
So, if you’re a serious hiker, learn the art of map and compass reading. These are invaluable skills that could one day save your life.
Staying Safe on the Trail
You have to remember that when you’re out on the trail, you’re also out amongst nature. The natural world is home to inhabitants of all varieties, and you have to share this space with them.
Wild animals are not to be fooled around with. No matter how cute and cuddly that little bear cub looks, you don’t want to get near it. If this situation arises, be certain that Mama bear is nearby, and she’s not going to like you.
The main thing to remember is that you have to respect the natural world. Often, hikers come across wild animals on the trail, and many of these animals can be dangerous to humans. Venomous snakes, bears, mountain lions, badgers, and other mammals need to be approached with caution, but your best bet is to avoid interaction with these critters entirely.