What's up: The mountain of youth? Hiking

What's up: The mountain of youth? Hiking

This months' EUSA Student Column focuses on hiking, important information for beginners and various tips and tricks for successful and great hikes, seen through the experience of Student Commission Chair and member of the EUSA Executive Committee Ms Flobena Nikolli.

Do you like to explore the nature and to hike? Are you a beginner and do not have much idea how to do it properly and what you should have with you? Then this post is the right one for you!
When I first tried long walks, I was completely unprepared and could hardly even ask questions. So the first advice I can give you is to ask for any ambiguity, embarrassment or ignorance you may have. For me, do not take any pilgrimage if you are not clear how long the trip will take, what is the destination and most importantly, who will be your guide!

Hiking in spring

Ok! You have asked and I know enough about what I said above, but you are still somewhat lacking in preparation? Things that you might need to know beforehand are these:
Be prepared to walk, which means cutting your nails - even if you do normally, re-check before leaving in the morning - as your nails can hurt your toes as they rub against each other from long walks.
If you do not have suitable shoes for the hiking, do not be discouraged! Get a pair of sneakers - even the ones you don't wear anymore - just make sure they are comfortable and fit perfectly, have soles with good grip, are waterproof and light. For more difficult and challenging hiking trails is important to have professional hiking shoes that are semi-high or high, to protect our ankles.
It is also recommended to dress in layers, to take extra clothes, to choose light coloured clothing and to avoid cotton clothes because they are sweat wicking.

You definitely need a bag, even the backpack you once used to go to school. I still use it today, I have no problem using it as long as it is enough space for all the things I need.
Get enough water or other non-alcoholic isotonic liquids and food that has high energy value - like dried fruit, chocolates, snack bars and a small sandwich and make sure you have enough of it.
Also, remember that you will be exposed to the sun - even in cloudy weather - for this you definitely need a hat and face and neck protection creams. Bug spray is also something that you might have a great usage of.
Take a first aid kit, a small one, with you. From experience I know that a sprained ankle and/or a scratch on the leg or arm will need a bandage.
You have to be prepared for other not planned inconveniences. The trip may take longer than planned?! No worries, a flashlight, or headlamp, solves a lot of work at night. The rain can ruin your trip, as it started and it was not on the forecast? A raincoat pulls you out of the situation and avoids the cold. Better to hold on than to cry!" said one of my guides. But even if you are not so prepared do not be embarrassed to borrow things - water, light, cream, or hat - from friends in the group with whom you will be traveling, because usually the mountains and the hikes are a good place to meet lots of new friends and create great new memories.

Hiking in winter

As a beginner in hiking is also recommended to:
- Let someone know of your hiking plans, so they know your location in case of emergencies.
- Choose a trail you can handle and give yourself time to build up to more difficult levels and remember you have to hike at your own pace. Don’t worry about how fast other hikers go. If you’re new to hiking, and if you’re not used to physical activities, you can easily burn yourself out before you get halfway through the hike.
- Set your goals and destinations gradually; do not start with the highest mountain. A difficulty level selected too high reduces the experience and can lead to dangerous situations.
- Make sure you take enough rest on your hike, hydrate, and have short but effective energy saving pauses. Keep in mind that too fast a pace might greatly affects the certainty of your step.
- If you get lots, make sure you get back by the same trail, do not go alone into the unknown.
- If possible, hike with a companion and if needed bring trekking poles with you.
- Bring your cell phone in case of an emergency, but make sure to conserve its battery.
- Always stay on the designated trail and part of the group, if you are hiking with other people.
- And last but not least, don’t disturb the environment around you (breaking branches, littering, etc..) and be considerate of other hikers too.

A successful hike is simple when you have the right tools and a positive mindset, and can be beneficial activity, especially as part of the #HealthyLifestlye4All mentality.

Flobena is a 22-year-old law graduate from Albania, currently doing her masters in Penal Law at the Faculty of Law at the University of Tirana.

Are you a student with an opinion? We are looking for new contributors for our student column every month. Feel free to contact stc@eusa.eu to offer a piece or propose a topic.