You will love the fresh air, beautiful views, and the sounds of nature that our part of North Carolina has to offer! Anyone who knows me knows that one of my favorite ways to cool off and decompress from a long, 100 mile bike ride is to take a dip in the Dan River in Stokes County, and then head out on a hiking trail with my wife, Cindy. There is really nothing better than being out in nature with the people you love, and this summer is a great time to get out and start exploring the natural beauty that the Triad has to offer. Here are some safety tips and best practices that have kept my sweetie and me safe over the years.
Before you even head out on the trail, it is important to know where you are headed. Having maps and navigation tools when out on the trail are great, but you need to do your homework to make sure that your hiking plan is at the desired difficulty level, and that the trail is currently open and safe. Free apps like AllTrails or Gaia GPS not only give this information, they also have a curated comment section where hikers leave detailed information about current trail conditions. Also, our North Carolina State Parks website is a great resource to use to plan your next adventure.
It is so important make sure you bring water with you on the trail! You all know how hot and humid summers get here in North Carolina, and it doesn’t take much time at all to get dehydrated out there. Hydration is super important when our on the trail, and you will likely have to bring your own water with you. Grab your favorite water bottle and fill it up!
As a Triathlete, I know that having the proper footwear and clothing is paramount, and the same is true with hiking. You don’t have to run out and buy the latest and greatest hiking boots, but you will need good-fitting shoes with good tread on them to keep you from slipping and sliding on the trail. Bonus points for hiking boots with ankle support to minimize injury from stumbles. Additionally, it is best to dress in layers that you can add or remove as the outside temperature fluctuates and as you get warmer or cooler as you hike.
It is pretty easy to get out on the trails in Northwest North Carolina. So, grab a friend or family member and head out for an adventure. As you might have guessed, Hanging Rock State Park is a favorite of mine – maybe I will see you out on the trail soon!