Prudent by nature, or preparing for your first hike

© Mathieu Dupuis.

Summer’s coming. Is anyone not excited by the thought of getting back on the trails? But before venturing out, make sure you have the required skills and physical capacities. Outdoor activities carry a certain amount of risk; best never to go off alone.

Establishing your itinerary

This is a crucial step when you want to head out for a hike. You must estimate the number of kilometres you’ll travel and the time it will take. Consult the weather conditions and find out what activities are authorized by the outdoor recreation centre concerned. You should also inform a friend or family member of your itinerary and, most importantly, when you plan to return.

Prepare your gear

Even if your hike will be less than two hours, make sure your backpack, hiking boots and walking sticks are in good condition. Bring warm and weather-proof clothing (choose layers, and forget cotton), at least 1.5 litres of water, food rich in protein and carbohydrates, a first aid kit, insect repellent, a flashlight with new batteries, a whistle, duct-tape (you never know), toilet paper, matches, etc. Another warning: never depend on your cell phone. Always have a paper map, a watch and a compass.

Check your abilities and capacity

If you’re heading out alone, don’t play the superhero: lower your expectations and don’t exceed your limits. For example, choose a shorter trail, with fewer altitude changes (ups and downs) and one that more people use. If you’re in a group, discuss people’s physical condition. If you’re visiting a national park, make sure you have access permission before your arrival and respect the rules in effect.

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See you on the trails!


More from this author by clicking on her photo below.

Marie-Ève Boivenu


Marie-Ève Boisvenu20 Posts

Gestionnaire au Parc national du Mont-Tremblant. Community relations officer.


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