The definition of a hike can vary between individuals. For some it necessarily presupposes forestry, isolated plains, or some aspect of the rural. Some require an element of considerable exertion, usually involving steep inclines. Some emphasize any walk satisfying a certain minimal distance. I tend to appeal to the latter definition, mixed with an aspect of uncertainty in the route as well as terrain.
Whatever your definition, I propose a simpler recipe to hikes. And I do this to ease the burden for those unaccustomed to hikes or even walks; for those intrigued by the idea, yet overwhelmed by the notion of logistics surrounding the grandeur experience.
- A hike in the course of the day, such that you are not camping overnight.
- At least partially shaded area (forest, jungle, plenty of trees, or buildings with low sun). Hiking in the desert presents additional constraints not met by this minimalist recipe.
- Comfortable shoes you don’t mind soiling in the mud.
- Shorts (the ones you wear) that you wouldn’t mind bathing in a waterfall on a stroke of a whim. Or the respectable bathing suit worn underneath.
- Any top you don’t mind soiling if you slip.
- 500ml - 1500ml water bottle (1), whatever you can comfortably carry in your hand.
- A little cash in the pocket. You won’t be spending it. It’s for emergencies of the macabre sort.
- Whatever driver’s license or transit card you require to reach the site, if not reachable by a walk.
- Pen and paper (one/two leaflets), for creative purposes or for navigational aid.
- Wallet. You only need the above mentioned items. Why bother carrying and risk losing the remainder?
- Phone (2)
- Bag. You won’t need one as you’re only carrying a water bottle. But if anticipating the need for completely unobstructed usage of both hands, find some shoulder sack to strap that bottle.
- Food. (3) Eat before if you prefer, but don’t stress over this point.
- Once the bottle empties, you’ll find the means to refill it at some stream, waterfall or fountain. Bring the larger size if absolutely skeptical, but I’ve yet to encounter a natural area that didn’t somehow facilitate water refill. Per the prerequisites, this is not a desert hike.
- You’re hiking to connect with nature (or the urban landscape) and become comfortable relying on your inner faculty. You’re not there to chat or digitally hibernate. And you don’t need any navigational aid. Your inner-navigation enters overdrive mode once the brain realizes there isn’t any other measure. Also, most official natural areas feature some vague maps, indicator signs, and occasional people. And you do have the paper to jot some notes.
- For the (relatively) short duration you’ll spend hiking, any ‘small’ food will probably cause more harm that no food. On an empty stomach, you will remain sharper and not risk adverse body chemistry. And if stranded overnight, or for extended period since the last meal, you’ll gain the benefits of at least light ketosis (fasted cleansing). However, I can understand if not all concord on this point.
Questions, comments? Connect.