21 Feb Our hiking fails so far
So we’ve had our fair share of hiking fails during our first year of hiking. We didn’t really plan our trip to the Mullerthal trail, we didn’t do training for longer distances and I forgot to properly check the map in Oberstdorf (part 2) to see if we would hike around or over a mountain. Which is a big difference of course. So I want to tell you all about our hiking fails so far, so you’ll know what not to do when you go hiking.
1. Don’t overestimate yourself
So when we hiked our first trail on the Veluwezoom we didn’t know what we were doing at all. The hike would’ve been something between 15 and 20 km, over hills with mushy sand in the pouring rain. We’d manage, or so we thought. After 15 km we were shivering cold, completely soaked and sore. We took a bus back home and skipped the last section.
In Oberstdorf (part 1) we came to the conclusion that our average 5 km/h pace wasn’t going to last on rough terrain and (big) elevation changes. We’d soon learn that if you factor in that kind of terrain it’ll drop to something more like 2-3 km/h which makes a 10 km hike 2 times as long as we had anticipated on. This is why you should hike often on various types of terrain. You’ll know what you’re able of and what your hiking trip will look like at various locations.
2. No money, no food, no escape
It’s always a good idea to bring some cash with you. We learned that the hard way when we didn’t prepare our trip to the Mullerthal trail as well as we should have. We didn’t bring cash. This had put us in a situation in which we couldn’t buy food when we were famished and the food stand only took cash. It was also the reason we couldn’t take public transportation back to our car when we were too tired (and still famished) to continue. It wasn’t for another 10 km until we’d reach an ATM and our problems were solved… So, always bring cash, just in case.
3. Plan your hiking trips in detail
So I’ve mentioned overestimating yourself and bringing cash with you on the trail… both these fails wouldn’t happen if you’ve prepared your hiking trip (and yourself) well, I guess. Check out the maps in detail, are you going over a hill or mountain or around it? What kind of elevation will you encounter? How much extra time will that take? An hour or maybe more like 3 hours? Are there options to buy food near the trail or do you have to pack your own breakfast, lunch and/or dinner? Do you have enough snacks, food and water with you? Did you check the weather forecast in detail? Did you prepare physically for your trip? I can go on and on with this list. Just make sure you can cross off everything on your to do and packing list, twice.
4. Don’t forget about the bugs and ticks
Another hiking fail on the Mullerthal trail… Yes, that trip was a disaster. Nevertheless we managed to enjoy ourselves anyway! About those bugs and ticks… Do not, I repeat, do not forget to arm yourself against bugs and take tweezers with you whenever you go outside! My husband hiked around with this biting tick on his leg and my body was terrorized by horseflies. The bites of those nasty things are quite painful, and ticks can spread Lyme disease if you’re not careful.
5. Leave no trace
When we started out we didn’t know about the ‘leave no trace‘ rule. Of course we knew not to litter, but we didn’t quite understand what was meant with LNT. After really diving into hiking and everything there is to know about it, I learned about the LNT rule. We now (double) pack our trash in our backpacks and even take our personal/Zara’s waist with us until we find a proper place to dispose of it. It might sound a bit gross when you start out, but I think if you’re an outdoor enthousiast like we are, you won’t want to litter all over the place would you?
Did you have any hiking fails as a beginner? What’s something you want to teach new hikers?