Hiking Tips for Starting a Journal

Anyone who has been on a day hike or backpacking trip will need a way to be able to preserve the memories of the experience. One of the ways to do this is to write about your adventure in a hiking journal. This can be as simple as writing about the places that you have been in a simple notebook or it can be more hi-tech like starting a blog.

A notebook can be used to preserve the memories of your hike. You can find a notebook that is waterproof and tear resistant. What you can include in this hiking journal is the condition of the trail that you have backpacked. You can include the distance that you have covered, as well as the destinations that you have visited. You can also include the weather conditions as well as the GPS coordinates of the locations so that people may be able to visit the exact same spot that you have experienced. What you can also include in the journal is the weight of your backpack, your departure and arrival times, as well as your return date. If you have a hiking partner you can mention who it is. You can also mention the difficulty of the terrain that you have backpacked. The number of things you can write about is only limited by your imagination.

A blog is a great way of sharing your experiences in a way that has the potential to reach millions around the globe. Your blog can include photos as well as videos. It can be as interactive as you want it to be. You can provide visitors to your blog with a chance to leave a comment, ask questions or even make suggestions about how your blog can be improved.

The online hiking journal can be divided into sections. You can have pictures from your backpacking trip on one section, and another part of the blog can include videos. You can have diaries that document specific areas that you have visited. You blog can also have a site map so that visitors are able to navigate the blog easily.

In addition to the activities that you engage in when you are on a nature trail, you can include activities that you perform to prepare your meals. You can even provide hiking tips for people who are new to backpacking. You can include the photos of new friends that you have made while backpacking.

If you are not tech savvy, or you want a simpler way to start a hiking journal, you can just consider a simple notebook that will help you to keep a diary of your backpacking activities. Reading your journal in the future will allow you and others relive the terrific experience. Be sure to get started writing in your hiking journal for your next hike.

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Hiking Safety

Backpacking and hiking is quickly becoming a popular trend across America. It is both challenging and adventurous. And it appeals to young and old, male and female. It is something virtually anyone can take part in, and there are countless options on how and where to start. Backpacking is a great way to get into shape and have fun at the same time. Whether you are going for a week or for a night, you will have a more relaxed and enjoy your camping vacation if you are well organized and prepared.

If you're a seasoned camper you are probably well aware of the equipment required for your trip, however, few hikers think of self defense as a concern. Kidnapping, abductions, rapes, and violent assaults are common in nationwide media coverage and remind us of the credible threat and need for self defense products in the backcountry.

As you are packing, check your camping equipment and make sure that everything is in good order and you have included some personal defense products such as a defense spray, taser, or a stun gun.

Defense spray also referred to as OC or pepper spray is a very effective inflammatory agent that can easily irritate the eyes and result in pain, temporary blindness, and tears of any potential threat you may encounter either human or animal. Pepper spray is an organic based agent that comes from cayenne peppers. The spray will normally come in canister form, which his often times small enough to be carried in your pocket while hiking to your campsite.

Taser International recently released the latest personal defense device for the general public, the Taser C2. The Taser C2 was specifically designed for the general public to truly feel safe in today's troubled times. TASER products are giving people the power they need to take control and protect themselves. The TASER C2 utilizes the same technology used in TASER International's law enforcement models to effectively stun an assailant up to fifteen feet away.

For all outdoor enthusiasts, safety should be the first consideration and it must be in front of the mind at all times. There can be several hazards in backpacking and a person who does not think about being safe could fall prey. Territorial wildlife is a commonly encountered threat when in the wilderness. Having the ability to think clearly, remain calm, and having a personal defense weapon readily available will decrease the chances of becoming a victim of an attack.

Another consideration in personal safety while in the backcountry is being aware of other people. Popular hiking trails and wilderness areas have been grounds for violent attacks and kidnappings in the past.

As an example in 1974, hikers discovered a grave yard of bones in a Washington forest, later identified as belonging to missing women from both Washington and Utah. Investigators from both states communicated together and came up with a profile and composite sketch of the man named "Ted" who approached women for help, sometimes appearing helpless with a cast on his arm or crutches. This man was later identified as the notorious Ted Bundy.

People backpack for different reasons. Some do it for the great exercise, some because of the adventure and love of nature. Others backpack as a way to learn and explore the outdoors. Whatever the reason, there are large and expanding numbers of backpackers. They explore and they love the wilderness, and have the common goal of a safe backpacking experience which can provide memories that last a lifetime.

Tips for Going Backpacking

Backpacking can be a great experience for any traveller. Taking just the bare minimum with you and living entirely out of your backpack is a daunting, as well as a thrilling prospect. Backpacking can be one of the most amazing adventures in life. Some people think that figuring out what you are going to take with you and planning a trip around a country or even around the world backpacking can help you learn a great deal about yourself.

While you are looking toward what can be the best time of your life, be aware that backpacking comes with some obvious risks; from getting lost to encountering some less than friendly people, so it's important to follow a few basic rules to stay safe during your travels. It's not enough to just choose from the best backpacking tents, grab some clothes and be on your way - use these tips to keep yourself safe and healthy.

1. Use a belt bag. They may not look very trendy, but there is nothing better for keeping your money and important documents safe (and there is nothing worse than losing them!)

2. Carry a first aid kit. Make sure you pack everything from bandages and insect repellent to chapstick and sunscreen. You should pack everything you need to help small cuts and to keep comfortable.

3. Try to travel with somebody. If you have a travelling buddy, great! Otherwise, just sticking to frequented areas or finding somebody going the same places you are and travelling with them is perfect.

4. Let people know your itinerary. Find somebody who you can trust to alert authorities if you don't arrive at your destination on time and let them know where you plan to be. It's difficult to be found if nobody knows where to look.

5. Try to avoid looking like a tourist. Tourists are often the target for pick pockets and thieves. If you look like you know what you are doing, people will tend to leave you alone.

6. Take flip flops. Shared showers can be dirty. You don't want to get any infections through cuts on the feet and a dirty shower. Flip flops are also great for the beach!

7. Keep an eye on your ltggage. Take plenty of padlocks with you so you can secure your luggage if you plan to sleep on a bus or train or want to make sure your belongings stay safe. If a personal locker is available, paying the two dollars for the peace of mind and to make sure nobody steals your things is well worth it.

8. Plastic and zip lock bags can be very useful. Keep a supply with you for food, dirty shoes and clothes.

9. Keep a bottle of clean water with you and make sure you refill it whenever you get the chance. You never know when you might be stuck without a water supply.

10. Keep your trip well planned. Spontaneity is great, but making sure you have a schedule that can be followed and that gives others an idea of your location will keep you safe.

Preparing well for your trip can ensure you stay as safe as possible. Backpacking can be one of the best experiences of your life, so make sure you are ready for it.

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Hiking the National Parks

Hiking the National Parks

If you're planning your first backpacking trip to a National Park there are a few things to keep in mind before you head out:

1. No two parks are alike. Every National Park has its own rules and regulations for the backcountry. Some parks require bear canisters; some allow you to hang food. Some require designated campsites, some allow off-trail camping.

2. Be prepared. Make a checklist before you go. A few essentials include food, hat, sleeping bag, sunglasses, water purification system and matches.

3. If you are unfamiliar with a park, walking into a ranger station or office can help you figure out where you would be best suited to camp, instead of trying to plan a trip ahead of time. Some parks like Glacier National Park have bear closings and even planned trips may be re-routed.

4. Don't overextend yourself. Once you enter the backcountry, you are on your own. Don't push yourself too hard until you are used to the terrain.

5. Don't depend on GPS units, Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) or anything else that depends on batteries or weather conditions to work. You should be equipped to handle changes in weather and minor emergencies. If you have a PLB only use it in cases of extreme emergency.

6. Know the terrain and the wildlife you may encounter. Talk to rangers and do research as to how to react in the event of a wildlife encounter. Remember, black bears can climb trees, running marks you as prey, and moose can outrun you.

7. The most common cause of death in the National Parks has to do with water, not wildlife. Beware of river crossings, getting too close to waterfalls, slippery rocks, avalanches and more. Exposure to freezing water temperatures can cause hypothermia in minutes.

8. Hydrate. Drink water no matter what the weather. Even in freezing temperatures your body needs water to stay hydrated.

9. Respect the wilderness. Pack out everything you pack in. Leave your campsite as if no one had been there.

10. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed on trails in National Parks. If you want to camp with your dog, head to a National Forest instead of a National Park. Dogs can harass wildlife and parks are set up to protect the wildlife not pets.

National Parks showcase the natural treasures of our country. Visiting a park may renew your spirit, your enthusiasm for nature and cultivate a love of life and a respect for the connections that ties us together with our surroundings and the animals we share the planet with.

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Tips On How To Select A Handheld, Walking, Hiking GPS

Hiking GPS, also termed Walking GPS or Handheld GPS Units help you find your position whilst out and about on your adventures around the globe. They are especially helpful should you be traversing terrain that does not have any distinguishing landmarks or features to aid navigation. There are many GPS devices on the market for hiking and walking with different combinations of physical and functional features. So how do you choose one from amongst all the different makes and models available? Here are some tips to help you choose:

1. Your Skills At Navigation - Consider how you want to use your hiking GPS whilst you are actually travelling around:

    * Use It Occasionally - Do you just want to use a hiking GPS occasionally in order to validate the usual paper map reading and compass navigation work you do or in emergency situations? If so then any cheaper entry-level GPS model will be suitable for you by providing you with a grid reference. Once you transfer your grid reference from the GPS device to the paper map to verify your location you can carry on with your usual manual navigation.

    * Use It Frequently - In contrast, do you want to make use of a GPS device to do all of your navigation during your adventure without referring to a paper map? If this is the case then you will need a more expensive higher end GPS model with the capability to do some degree of digital mapping.

2. Your Organisation Skills - Consider how good your organisation skills are just before you actually go on your outdoor adventure!

    * You Are A Good Organiser - Consider a GPS device that needs to be charged up before you go on your adventure if you are a good enough organiser to make sure it is charged up. Also make sure that the life of the power source is quite a bit longer than the journey you will take. Bear in mind that GPS models that need to be charged usually have a shorter battery*life. If your journey could be longer in time than the life of the power source then because rechargeable power sources cannot usually be removed from the GPS unit they cannot be replaced during your adventure. Carrying a backup battery device like a Power Monkey could be one solution but that means carrying extra equipment. Also, if you need to recharge whilst travelling in wet or windy conditions it could lead to difficulties.

    * You Are Not Very Organised - Using a GPS device that uses standard batteries is advisable if you are not a very good organiser. You can easily replace standard batteries during your outdoor adventure should they run out of power. However, you will need to be organised enough to remember to carry spare batteries during your journeys. Also, purchasing extra spare batteries whilst you are out and about is usually easy as they are commonly stocked products in many countries.

3. Your Hiking Region - Consider the region in which you want to hike!You can get a location from any GPS device anywhere around the globe. However, you need to ensure your GPS device is set up correctly in order to translate your location into a grid format that is correct for the local map and region of your current location. Bear in mind the following points:

    * You Do Not Have Region Mapping - If you have GPS device with digital mapping capability and have not obtained the digital mapping for the region of your current location, then you only see your location on a blank screen.

    * Is Region Mapping Available? - If you want a GPS device with digital mapping then you should ensure that the devices you consider have digital mapping available for the region want to visit.

4. Your Hiking Environment - Consider the type of weather and environmental conditions you will be hiking in! In order to use your hiking handheld GPS effectively, it needs to be of a robust enough design; easy enough to operate; and easy to view the display screen! Take these points into account:

    * Operation - Is the handheld GPS suitable for weather conditions that are cold, wet or windy? Consider the following:

    * Small Buttons - If the handheld GPS has small buttons, they may not be easy to press under good weather conditions. If you are wearing thick gloves due to poor weather conditions, if will be even more difficult to press the buttons.

    * Touch Screen - If the handheld GPS model has a touch screen then it will require the use of either a stylus or your bare fingers. This may be ok to operate under good weather conditions but if you are wearing gloves it may prove to be difficult. If you use your bare fingers they will be exposed to the elements.

    * Changing Batteries - Is it easy enough to change the batteries in poor weather conditions? The use of long life batteries can reduce the frequency of battery changes and reduce the quantity of spare batteries you need to carry. Nevertheless, I always recommend carrying at least one set of battery replacements.

    * Screen Readability - How easy is it to read the display screen? Is it easy to see the fine details of map contours? This will be determined by the size of the display screen and how good your eyesight is. Black and white displays are usually fine but it can be difficult to distinguish different types of information on complex screen displays. Colour screens are better for displaying different types of information on the same screen but they can also prove difficult to see when in direct sunlight. Some of the more modern, advanced models use a "Trans-reflective Colour" display technology which is easier to read in bright sunlight.

    * Waterproof - How waterproof do you need you walking GPS to be? Waterproof ratings are based on the IEC 529 European (ECC) Water Protection Specifications and an IPX number is assigned to the device. A GPS device rated as IPX7 or IPX8 is submersible and is therefore waterproof. IPX8 is the highest but IPX7 is good enough for most hiking situations.To improve waterproofing you can place the walking GPS device in a waterproof Ziploc bag when not using it.

    * Robustness - Is the walking GPS of a rugged, shock-proof design that can withstand the potential knocks it may receive. Robustness or ruggedness of GPS devices does not seem to have a standard for measurement or rating. You can read the specification and reviews on walking GPS but at the end of the day this will be up to your own judgement.

5. Features Tips - The GPS features you need for your hiking adventures is considered a matter of personal preference. However, here are two points worth considering:

    * If you want a GPS device that is easy to carry then choose one that is compact and light in weight.
    * A useful functional feature for hiking is one that gives you a bearing, that is, direction of travel to reach the next waypoint along your route.

6. Your Budget - What is your budget for your hiking GPS? The amount you are ready to part with is likely to depend on extent to which you intend to make use of it. An entry-level handheld hiking GPS which has a black and white display screen without digital mapping can be purchased for about £70. A high-end model which has OS mapping on a colour display screen costs hundred of pounds. If cost is your limiting criteria, purchase the most expensive model within your budget that satisfies your hiking requirements.

Hiking, walking, handheld GPS devices are great tools to aid navigation during your outdoor adventures. They are most useful when you cross regions with no landmarks to assist navigation. How you select a specific GPS model from amongst the wide range and various features available?

As with most purchases your budget is likely to have a big influence on your choice of GPS model. Your choice may be made easier by considering your navigation and organisation skills together with the regions in which you will be hiking. Other factors to think about are your intended hiking environments in terms of: operation, that is, button size, touch screen and battery changing; screen readability; and levels of waterproofing and robustness. A few desirable features you may want are a compact and lightweight design plus a functional feature to provide a bearing, that is, a direction in which to hike.

There are a variety of hiking GPS to choose from. To learn all about the benefits, categories, physical and functional features and some purchasing strategies read my detailed guide on Hiking, Walking, Handheld GPS.

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Preparing for the Worst While Hiking

How often do we plan an outdoor vacation, but we forget to properly prepare for that impromptu side trip into the wilderness, for an overnight stay, or all day excursion? I know it has happened to me when taking that hike to the mountain lake that is just over the ridge and where there will be few people on the trail.

How often are we prepared with enough food, proper clothing or water when we set out on a beautiful day hike? In today's instant society there are plenty of foods to choose from, but we often choose off the shelf protein bars or packaged items to throw into our backpacks. We grab a water bottle or two and off we go for that instant hike into the wilderness.

A little planning goes a long way in preparing for unexpected disasters. Having a check list of the most essential items in your wilderness pack before you leave home will pay dividends when unexpected disasters strike. The following seven items are must have items that will save your life and help make the disaster tolerable:

1) Waterproof matches or windproof butane lighter

2) Extra food and water. The preferable choice would be prepackaged food that just needs hot water.

3) Emergency waterproof shelter (plastic cover).

4) Multipurpose knife

5) Extra clothing (preferably wool or other material that will keep you warm when wet.)

6) Flashlight (plus extra batteries)

7) Emergency first aid kit

All of these items can be purchased at your local shopping center or the internet for a minimal price. The items will last for years in your wilderness pack. and will offer you a great sense of security.

In addition to the seven essential items above are additional items that would be nice to have in your wilderness pack. These items will certainly make your time in the outdoors more enjoyable and just might be life saving:

8) Compass

9) Toilet kit which would include toilet paper

10) Insect repellent

11) Sunburn protection

12) Whistle

13) Fire starter

14) Maps of the area your exploring

15) Sunglasses

You can pack these items in your personal back pack. or you can visit websites that have wilderness packs available for a minimal price. If you are an avid outdoors person you must be prepared for a last minute change in plans. You need to have a pack prepared before you head out the door. Keep the back pack light but keep it packed with these essential items and you will be prepared when a disaster strikes.

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Tips for Planning a Hike Through the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon in Arizona, United States is one of the best places on Earth and boast of its incredible natural landscape and never ending chances for adventure travel. The place is one among the top visited US destination. Grand Canyon keeps the guests entertained year round with several fun and adventure activities. The beauty of carved canyons formed from several million years of raging waters from the Colorado River is beyond words. With staggering scenery, whitewater thrills and magical hikes, Grand Canyon tour can surely be once in a life time experience.

Grand Canyon National Park is nearly 446 km long and is about 6000 feet deep at certain places. The famous Colorado River which runs through this area also encouraged the influx of visitors. Besides its spectacular natural views, numerous trails like hiking, rafting and several assisted tours like rim to rim on the Kaibab, horse shoe mesa tour, hermit loop tour, south rim tour, phantom ranch tour, all conducted either by land, air or railway are great break for any type of traveler who is ready for an active adventure. Hiking is the most demanded tour activity here and is the best way to see and experience the park. It opens the gateway to one of the earth's most striking and spectacular landscapes. But hiking here can be more dangerous than most people believe. Depending upon how one prepares and what the Canyon serves up at any particular time, the hiking tours can be a vacation or an ordeal.

Canyons steep drops, soaring summer temperatures, dropping winter temperatures, lack of water and sudden weather shifts accounts for several deaths here. There are no easy trails to the Canyon, as you are hiking in the desert climate, some recommendations and tips will really help for a hassle free and safe return hiking tour.

There are several hiking trails in the Grand Canyon. Some are natural trails while others are created by hikers. The most enjoyable and the safest season for hiking in the Grand Canyons are spring and fall. Hiking in the peak of summer is scary as water sources are few and far between. Even the night radiates relentless heat. Get the weather forecast before the journey starts. For a hiking tour one must be well aware of the route. Day hiking can be safer and enjoyable than an overnight trip. Hikers can also try shuttle routes through the village areas which provide better transportation, hotel, campgrounds and shopping. These shuttle routes also offer spectacular view of Colorado River flowing through the Canyon. Avoid hiking alone, as there are numerous chances of getting panic. Dehydration is another biggest threat for hikers here. Dehydration related concerns are the most common factors leading to death. Carry plenty of water to stay well hydrated at all times. If anyone is not medically fit, the altitude, strenuous climbing and dehydration can make the medical problem worse. So hike intelligently to keep yourself safe.

Hiking the Grand Canyon is very different from most other backpacking experience. But recently the threats are much bit. There are plenty of guided tours that allow one to see the beauty of mountain and canyon. Grand Canyon tour which refreshes the awe inspiring grandeur is truly an experience unlike any other.

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