Hiking Tips

By Bassam Frangieh

As a Professor of Arabic, I stay very busy throughout the school year with classes and grading. In my spare time, I much enjoy the peaceful yet invigorating experience of hiking. Hiking is not only a great form of physical activity, but it also allows me to explore the beautiful natural landscapes of the great state of California. Here are several tips to make your hiking expedition more enjoyable:

1. Go early: Some people like to set out very early, beginning their hikes at 3 or 4 a.m., which enables them to make the most of the day. This makes sense for hikers voyaging into high-altitude trails, which are susceptible to afternoon thunderstorms. Others like to go a little later, but it is still advisable to hike in the morning to avoid the mid-afternoon heat. 

2. Wear appropriate attire: Depending on the weather, you may need to wear long underwear, preferably made from moisture-resistant polyester. If hiking in very cold temperatures, you may wish to have a mid-layer of fleece for extra warmth. For the top layer, hikers should wear wind- or water-resistant clothing. In cold temperatures, hikers may wish to wear a hat to keep body heat from escaping and in warm temperatures, a hat can provide protection from the sun. 

3. Travel light: in order to make a hike as enjoyable as possible, you’ll want to keep your possessions to a minimum. The more you carry, the harder your hike will be. Keep your pace light by keeping your luggage light. 

4. Bring water: perhaps the most important item to bring on your walk is water. Use the length of the hike to gauge how much water you will need. Some hikers bring several canteens and store them at various spots along the path, reducing the amount of weight they need to carry. Others opt to buy a water filter and drink water from lakes and rivers. Whatever you do, ensure that you stay properly hydrated. 

About the Author:

Bassam Frangieh currently serves as a Professor of Arabic at Claremont McKenna College in California. He previously taught at Yale University and Georgetown University.

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