When I first starting hiking regularly, I made a ton of mistakes. It’s completely normal for a beginner hiker to make mistakes and honestly that’s the best way to learn. Mistakes allow you to grow, understand and most importantly limits your effort from doing it twice.
But, there are three main mistakes that can prove to be deadly while out hiking in the Phoenix desert. So, I figured I would share them with you so you don’t end up finding yourself in a harmful situation..
Not Bringing Enough Water or Food.
It’s especially important to bring extra water while hiking in Phoenix. It’s hot and you just never know what you could run into. Dehydration is no joke out here. My rule of thumb, is that if I notice I’m running low on water, I turn back immediately. This ensures that I’ll have enough water for my hike back to the car.
This also goes for food and snacks. Sometimes when hiking you can begin to feel low on energy. This is typically your body’s way of telling you it needs some calories to use as fuel. That’s why it’s important to at least have some trail mix or something similar in your pack. You might end up not needing it, but it’s important to have, just in case.
Misjudging the amount of time and effort needed for a hike.
When doing research on a hike, it’s quite common to see the trail route and feel like it’ll be easy for you. Only once you are on the actual trail, you may find it’s way harder than you imagined it would be. This would happen to me all the time.
I would see a 5 mile hike and think I could get it done in an hour. In reality, it took take me up to 3 hours. So while it’s good to be excited to take on bigger and more challenging hikes, don’t overestimate how long it could really take. Also think about the weather conditions or when it will get dark outside. My suggestion is to mentally add on more time than I think is needed when planning out a hike.
Not Having a Clear Idea of Direction or Knowing Where the Trail is.
It can be really easy to get lost while hiking on these Phoenix trails. There are times you run into side trails and mistakenly follow them. This has happened to me numerous times. I have learned the first step is not to panic and backtrack your steps. It’s really important to study the trail map before heading out and to know which direction you should be heading.
For this reason, it’s important to have a compass and a map on you. I know, sometimes looking at google maps or another map app might be WAY easier! But, you just never know if your going to get service or if your phone dies, than you need a back up plan. So definitely know your directions before you hike and always tell someone where you are hiking.
Now, other mistakes not mentioned here are bound to happen. That’s just the learning curve of being a beginner hiker. We have all gone through it. The most important thing to remember is that these mistakes allows us to grow and to become better hikers. But following the above mentioned mistakes can just prove to save your life one day.