I have been hiking and getting to know cities and towns for a while, in all this time I have learned some things that I want to share with you.
Before going to a place it is important to inform yourself, as to duration, difficulty, starting point and everything you can, remember that in most there is no cellphone signal and never go alone.
These are son tips for hiking:
1. Clothes and footwear
One of the most important things is comfort. Footwear can be sneakers, although waterproof shoes would be preferable for hiking.
If you like the activity a lot it can be a good investment, I bought some for other reasons, then I used them for hiking and I was surprised how comfortable they are, I did not slip and if the ground was damp the water did not penetrate, unfortunately they were damaged, for the moment I wear sneakers.
Long socks and long pants help protect us from insects (prevent it from getting into clothing, the socks must remain on the pants).
It also protects us from any fall and from the sun, personally wearing those pants that are for exercise, they are very comfortable (never jeans or sandals or flip flops).
The sweater, if the trail does not have trees, such as La Silampa Waterfall trail or if it is very wooded.
I prefer to use a long sleeve and like the pants, something that is a dry fit type, first to protect me from damage from the sun and second of branches, leaves or insects that can scratch or hurt me.
But if it is like the Metropolitan Park, then it can be something short-sleeved or sleeveless, since trees protect me and the trail is a bit wide.
I know that the clothes don’t seem very fashionable or pretty, but they protect me and there are some designs that are pretty.
Colors are also important, if you are doing any sightings then it is best to use nature-like colors. If you are directly in the sun then light colors are the best.
2. Pretrail meal
Before leaving, a good breakfast is important, something nutritious that stays in the stomach for a while and that bring energy.
Something that works very well for me is the freshly squeezed orange juice and no added sugar, from there some roasted tortillas (I make them in a pan or casserole and they are sewn while I get ready), boiled eggs or an egg with spinach, tomato, onion or whatever you like and at the beginning of the trail, a fruit would be a good thing.
You will see this in many trips, now I do it a little differently, I hydrate as much as I can a few days before, it is not that I do not hydrate normally, only that I drink a little more water.
During the hike I drink very little water, so I don’t carry much, also I should not carry a lot of weight and avoid urinating, because that way I don’t enjoy the trail (you will say, but over there behind a tree, it’s a possibility, but not all the trails are like that).
This is somewhat contradictory to what most people would say, but it works for me.
Now once I come back or when I am at the start point, I drink plenty of water and even more so at home, I don’t get thirsty, but I must hydrate, so I drink enough water again, and the same the next day.
Whatever you do, you should always be hydrated and carry more water than you may need on the way.
In addition hydrating drinks can help, if the trail is a bit heavy, like the Chame Hill trail, I usually take a bottle (hydrating drink).
4. What to bring
Water and snacks
Water and if the trail is heavy, also a hydrating drink, fruits (banana, papaya), of course, well-kept it so that it does not arrive as a puree, nuts, some chocolate or something like Snickers that are these peanut bars with caramel and a cover of chocolate.
If it is a trail of many hours, you can also bring a sandwich (sandwich), be careful with sauces or wet ingredients, they can also be add just before eating them.
Cap and sunglasses
If it is an uncovered trail (no trees), a cap/hat and sunglasses will help a lot.
I recommend this whenever you go somewhere during the day, I personally use it every day, because even the computer emits harmful rays.
It should be comfortable and practical, I recommend thick straps, padded on the back and with a section to put bottles.
I use one like this, the only thing is that it is not designed for hiking, it is a school one, it allows me to have the camera protected, it even has a waterproof base, but the material is hot, so it makes me sweat my shoulders and back, I hope to be able to buy one more suitable one.
There are some disposable ones that do not take up any space, they almost fit in a wallet and there are also others that are larger, I use the latter.
I have one that must be around 15 years old, I bought it in a store called Army in the Central.
It serves to cover me from the rail, put it on the floor and sit without getting dirty, make an awning and even to make a float (in fact, I used it to cover my sleeping tent because it was getting wet).
It also helps me protect the camera inside the backpack and not get wet in the boats that go very fast and one get wet.
So, I carry it on all my rainy season trips.
5. During the trail
Go at your own pace, you don’t have to go fast, you can get exhausted, you shouldn’t separate from the group, so the group shouldn’t go too fast so as not to spread.
Take breaks, although not very long and during them take off your shoes and socks, this will cool it down and will avoid peeling and hurting your feet.
Drink water once in a while, not much, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
If you feel that the trail is very heavy and you do not have the conditions to reach the end (to the top, in case of mountains), it is best to go back.
Remember that you are in the middle of nowhere and exhausted, you may be easily injured, I personally couldn’t finish the Chame Hill trail, but take notes to come back another day and hiking it complete.
6. The Time
On the trails that will become daytime it is best to start them early in the morning, you will say but, how early?
Well when the sun rises, why if they are long, he will reach the middle of the trail at noon, so you will deplete and dehydrate faster.
The nocturnal, will depend on what time you want to arrive at or finish your destination.
7. With guide or without guide
If you do not know the trail or if they are not trails for the whole family or signposted.
The best thing is to do it with a guide or go with a person who has already gone, preferably on several occasions, it is better to have a guide to get lost or take the road wrong.
8. Take care of the place
Remember that we all like to go to places and see them beautiful, so you always have to take all the waste you produce and if you can, collect the trash that others have left.
Also take care of the benches, tables or structures such as the crosses that there are in some mountains, you have to think that it is very difficult to get to these places to repair or paint them,
On the other hand, I know that there are people who cannot make a trip without playing music, just avoid it, that can scare away the birds, animals that most of us love to see.
9. Eyes and ears
I mean, to pay attention to the place and the guide, you might miss some wonder of nature or the guide might try to give you an indication of something on the way.
10. Después del sendero
Hydrate and change your shoes, of course the latter will depend more than everything if you go by car.
Now, the first thing I do and I think very few people do, is to stretch my muscles, it takes me, even if it is a minute, that helps me recover and wake up the next day without pain.
In the car, I try to have a cooler with ice and water (it is not so that the water is cold, but so that it stays cool, does not heat up and I can drink it) and of course I take off my shoes and I hope they cool off my feet.
After I can put on other socks with the same sneakers and I might eat some fruit before I go home and if I run into a coconut water stall, I don’t hesitate to drink one.
If I go back by bus, I have taken off my shoes for a while, to lower the heat on my feet.
Other places you may like
- 7 Churches of Casco Antiguo
- Ancón Hill, Tropical Humid Forest and Viewpoint of Panama City
- Plantación Trail in Soberanía National Park
- 7 Trails at Metropolitan Natural Park
- Visiting Miraflores Visitor Center of Panama Canal