Mountain hiking is a popular pastime in the southern United States, particularly in the states of Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. It is a very adventurous and interesting pursuit, and one can also have a great time on the water with a canoe.
The first of two articles in this series about mountain hiking. The second article covers some practical advice for safe canoeing on a river.
Being brave, and perhaps a little bit of a daredevil, most people go to the mountains in the first place for the hills.
Some, however, want to experience a bit more of the outdoors and want to get out of the office or house and explore the trees, the bushes and everywhere in between.
There are quite a few hiking clubs in the USA that organise trips that usually start off with an orientation session at a local hiking centre where beginners are taught how to properly prepare, pack and ensure safe hiking. Thereafter, the group sets out on the desired trail to a destination of their choosing. Some trails are marked clearly, while others are not, and many are mountainous, so it is a good idea for beginners to be properly geared up and know how to handle a knife.
Those who want to stretch their legs beyond the office can be invited to join the folks who go walking in the mountains of the Appalachians and the High Sierra. In most cases the membership of the hiking club consists of local enthusiasts, who understand the joy of being outdoors and also enjoy getting out and experiencing all that there is to offer. From hikes to river trips and river rafting, there is plenty going on.
Being brave is not always a must, but it does help. When searching for a hiking group, be sure to ask others about the organisations that they belong to and compare it to your anticipated trip. Those with a green badge next to their name are those who are environmentally conscious.
These members take safety seriously and go hiking with the idea of having a great time. Some groups take members on guided walks in groups, where the participants are also a good indication of those who are capable of properly guiding others. For those with a yellow badge, the group will be camping and living in a tent is a part of the experience.
The red badge signifies the most serious hikers. These members have experienced a lot of stress and fatigue, along with serious injuries and some deaths. These are the people you do not want to meet on your trek. They know their limits and will push those limits to see just how far they can push themselves. Being in the green badge earns you the respect of those who go on hikes.
It is important to take a look at what the badges represent, and if there is a badge for you. To avoid potential embarrassment, consider the badge you are wanting to obtain and if it could meet your expectations. A yellow badge with a green group might suit some, but you do not want to run into those who have given up on life. A yellow group means “let’s see where we are at”, green group “lets see how far we can push this thing!”