Spring is a nice time to go outdoors, not only to see the flowers and the greenery, but also to savor the cool air and inviting warmth of the sun. Japan is an exciting country for hiking; there are volcanoes, pilgrimages, trails and pristine forests you can explore.
But the most important thing to do first is to do research. Where would you go? How’s the weather? How difficult is the hike? The more you know, the better and safer you are. So here are some tips and other information to help you start and enjoy hiking this spring.
Some people still prefer to wear their traditional hiking boots because these have thick soles with thick profiles that help avoid twisted ankles. However, there are hikers, especially these days, who prefer to use light trainers with thin soles to feel the ground and avoid making missteps. But regardless of what shoes you choose, your foot won’t be that comfortable without socks. Choose thicker wool socks to help cushion your feet and also because wool dries up faster than cotton.
Since you’re going to be exposed to nature and all its bits and pieces, you can still be “fashionable” without looking really stupid. Lighter clothes are more comfortable especially during spring, but of course still vary depending on your tolerance to cold or warm weather. If you have long hair, braid, bun or ponytail keeps your hair neat and out of your way. Also to keep insects and dust out of your eyes, wear proper eyewear that can also protect your eyes from the sun’s rays. Other important accessories you can bring are hats, belts and scarves.
Bag it Up
It’s fairly simple; overnight stays require a bigger bag, day hikes don’t. As long as your bag can carry everything from spare clothes, gadgets and your very own survival kit, then better. There are plenty of waterproof bags in sporting goods stores that come in different colors and sizes and they’re even just a click away for purchase. If you worry about your gadgets then at least, only bring the important ones. GPS units are handy as well as binoculars and cameras. Most mobile phones even have those already for your convenience. Ditch the laptop; you’re not there to work on your report due next week. You’re hiking to see the view and enjoy it.
What’s in the bag?
Here are just a few important stuff you should have inside your hiking bag (but if you have something to add, feel free to use the comments section below)
- First aid kit
- Compass/GPS receiver
- Extra clothing
- Extra food and water
- Headlamp or flashlight
A Bug’s Life
Welcome to their world, and yes, you might encounter bugs, insects and other creepy crawlers on the way, so it’s important to confront these critters head-on. If you have sensitive skin, be sure to cover yourself enough, and apply protective lotion and other stuff that would help drive biting insects away. However, this will still depend on the weather and the trail you’re going to.
Manners—always take them with you…most especially when you’re in a foreign country or with a group of people you’ve just met. By observing some basic common-sense ideas, you sure can prevent miscommunication and misunderstandings along the way. People going up the hill generally have the right-of-way over people going down the hill. Be mindful of the trail space and greet hikers up with a smile. When taking a break along the trail, move as far to the edge as you can and leave room for people to get around you.
Though some areas attract lots of visitors especially when it’s a holiday, you can’t really get the calmness and silence you were aiming to experience. But still, try to enjoy and first and foremost respect nature. Keep your areas clean and be considerate.
We may all have different reasons for hiking. Some do it as their form of exercise, some do it to socialize and meet new people. But even if we have different goals, we all have one similar reason, and that is to have fun.
Photo credits: Jussarian, brewbooks, Matthieu LIENART and sheffnermarc via Flickr Creative Commons
Great tips for me to prep when I am ready to hike!