I recently watched the Netflix movie, The Ritual.
Best mates go for a nice weekend in the woods and pretty soon someone breaks a leg – the mates can’t agree on the route so they get completely lost and then, bam! The friends end up in a forgotten village full of strange people wanting to sacrifice them to their ancient evil god.
Now that’s definitely not a great hike!
Why do horror films always have a scene where things go terribly wrong in the woods? I love the woods! Some of the best times of my life have been in the woods. So what can you do to make sure you have a great hike and don’t end up like the friends in The Ritual?
Want to have a great hike? Here are my top must-haves…
Find somewhere interesting to hike –
This is number 1 for me. I’ve hiked in all kinds of places, mountains, deserts, parks, and even cities and I can always find something that makes it unique. This is also related to attitude. A great hike can take place anywhere – but it must be interesting or unique in some way (to you). Hiking slows you down and gives you time to notice the world. Do you find the unique wherever you go? Finding something unique about your destination is always possible.
Bring good companions –
You can have a great hike with friends or strangers, however, they must have the same values & expectations when it comes to hiking. For me, the best companions are those who will stop and take a moment to gaze in wonder at a rainbow, even if it means they might not hit a milepost. I want a companion with a like-minded reverence for our adventure. Are you a goal-oriented hiker or a stop and smell the roses hiker? When you choose your hiking buddy, choose carefully.
Prepare well –
Not being prepared can turn a great hike into a disaster. It took me a year of living in Colorado to realize I needed to bring bad weather gear on a hike even in the summer. I finished one too many high altitude hikes in a rush trying to get down a mountain because I saw a storm about to hit and wasn’t prepared. Being prepared means different things on different hikes but it always involves the right clothes, shoes, food, and water. What are your must-have hiking essentials? If you don’t know make sure you find out before your next hike.
Have the right attitude –
So many of us begin a great hiking trip with a long list of expectations. If you do, you’ll always be disappointed. I could’ve listed this as #1 because if you don’t have this – you have nothing. Leave space for serendipity and be open to whatever the day may bring. If you can, you just might find yourself embracing both the good and the bad with nearly equal enthusiasm. How do you free your mind and have the best attitude? Sometimes I find it’s best not to study the trail too much before you go. Always leave something to be discovered.