Grab some water, a snack, and a backpack, and take a hike. And we mean that in the nicest way possible.
When I hear the phrase, "Take a hike," I wonder if someone wants to get rid of me. Or, I begin singing, "Hit the Road, Jack!" In either case, I'm thinking there's a much more positive intent for National Take a Hike Day.
According to the National Day Calendar, November 17 is the day set aside to celebrate National Take a Hike Day. Grab some friends and family members and take a hike. Or take a hike on your own. (Of course, hiking individually is for the experienced and well-prepared hiker.)
While hiking might not qualify as a sick day (or maybe as a mental health day), it's worth taking some personal time off of work to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. Whether you're looking to hike the entire day or venturing out on a short hike, there's bound to be a trail just right for you.
Hiking is beneficial to your overall health. While being outside, you receive natural Vitamin D from the sunlight. You're able to breathe fresh air and see spectacular sights of nature. The average person burns around 430 calories per hour while hiking. This will help ward off some potential holiday guilt of indulging in snacks and sweets.
Know Where You're Going
The National Trails System combines the trails on both federal and state grounds. With nearly 250,000 miles of trails contained in The National Trails System, you're bound to find a route with a view that fits your physical endurance level.
Trails have been used for generations in the United States. The oldest trail is Crawford Path, now 200 years old, nestled in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains in New Hampshire.
"Originally built in 1819 by Ethan Allen Crawford and his father, Abel, Crawford Path is the oldest continuously used and maintained recreation trail in America. Its appeal derives from the fact that its 8.5 miles of mountainous ridgeline travel converges with the famed Appalachian Trail. The trail continues across the alpine zone and leads to the summit of Mount Washington, the highest peak east of the Mississippi."
Use a trail app, such as AllTrails, to help find the best trails in the location you're wanting to hike. AllTrails is a global app, so take it with you when you're hiking on vacation (even if it's not National Take a Hike Day). Browse hikes, read reviews, and see parameters such as accessibility and if pets are allowed on the trail. AllTrails is available for free. A premium version of the app also guides you along the trail to ensure you're staying right on course.
Hiking apps also allow you to keep track of the hikes you've accomplished while keeping a list of hikes on your wish list to tackle next.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Be prepared and stay safe as you hike. Between your own physical condition, wildlife, weather, and tricky terrain, it's wise to research what you need to how to prepare and explore tips to prevent a trail attack.
"Over the mountains & through the woods, down the river & up the valley, over the boulders & through the stream to nobody's house I go." - Unknown
Hiking isn't just for the summer months. Even in colder temperatures and winter weather, you can stay warm while outside.
Dress comfortably and in layers as you plan your hike. Temperatures can range throughout the day, so dressing in layers makes it easy to maintain your body temperature. Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes and socks. Your feet will do a lot of work, so treat them well and avoid blisters and soreness with supportive footwear.
Grab your backpack and pack water (and extra water), meals/snacks, layers of clothes, a camera, binoculars, a first-aid kit, mirror, phone/GPS, sunglasses, sunscreen, a multitool, and an adventurous spirit.
Where's your favorite hiking spot? Share in the comments below.