In many self-care videos and webinars, I always see people talking about doing hiking to get positive thoughts and maintain mental health too. I was born in the Mountain region in Nepal. Our hiking used to be for the visit to pilgrimages twice or thrice a year. Hiking was not a thing until I went to Switzerland in 2011. I brought new expensive trekking shoes from there and climbed the Matternhorn Mountain. When I was at the top of the mountain I forgot everything in the world and I was in so much in peace and self-awareness. I cannot express the feelings of being so full and accomplished. Since then, I started growing love for hiking. There are many ways you can get in to hiking activities in the US. I am sharing few of them which I have tried.
- Facebook group: there are closed hiking groups on facebook which you can join to get more information about hiking and also join the hikers. If you are looking for information to hike some specific places, then you can ask the group about it. You will usually find some people who have hiked to that place and will share their experiences and things to prepare to go there for hiking. They share their group hiking info in the group with labeling it as beginner or moderate hiker or experts. So you can choose among them. These groups are usually free and sometimes people also offer carpool.
- Hikers club: These groups organize regular hiking around specific cities. They charge minimum cost to organize group hiking and also arrange transportation to go to the starting point and also drop to the specific locations. They also suggest what to prepare for the hiking, what pace we will be walking in and how tough or easy the hiking route is etc.
- National Parks: since I live in DC and very close to Shenandoah National Park ( I feel so lucky), most of my long hiking was in Shenandoah National Park. I am very fortunate to find friends to join me for hiking so I didn’t have to worry about Car drive. Usually you will need your private vehicle to go to these National Parks. If you don’t find any friends to hike with. These national parks usually have their group hiking events so you can join them. If you are taking your private car, you have to pay minimum fee to enter in to the park. It’s always better to find a friend who has membership of these parks as you don’t need to pay for the entrance.
- Your surroundings: One thing I like about the well managed concept of the cities in the US is that you will always find parks nearby to walk. If I don’t have any friends, I usually look for the places/parks nearby to walk. I have explored all the near by parks in my previous place and now I have closer to DC, I am still exploring some parks, national heritages in Arlington as well as in DC.
- Hiking Gears: I know living a life in foreign country for a short period time means that you don’t have all the clothes and gears you need to do hiking. I have managed to do anyway. If I buy shoes, I always look for two options- one, I should be able to wear it as my regular shoes (it has to look good) and two, I should be able to do hiking with it too. I always bring a hat, wind proof jacket, a bottle of water, chocolate bars, sunscreen and I always carry a backpack just in case if I need it for anything. Also, it’s easier to put all the stuff in your backpack. I would never carry one sided bag or one sided purse unless it’s the short hiking and I got in to it by chance.
- Inform your family or friends: It is always nice to inform your friends or family about your hiking date and time so that they know about your location just in case if you face any emergencies. Also, always save your emergency number on your phone. If you are taking your car to the hiking spot and hiking solo to the touch hiking places, it is always nice to leave the note of your hiking time in your car.
These are my few tips. Please feel free to share your hiking/trekking tips with me too.
Hiking is always fun and good for your physical as well as your mental health J