Hiking is a great physical pursuit for people of any age. Go for a hike and you’ll find yourself interacting with nature, challenging your fitness, and probably taking in some great vistas, too. However, some people won’t try hiking; they’ve allowed a few all-too-common myths to discourage them from taking to the trails. This is a shame, because the benefits of hiking far outweigh the risks.
Myth: You need expensive gear to properly hike
There are plenty of high-quality hiking boots on the market, but for many, normal walking or running shoes are just fine. Shoes worn when hiking should have good ankle support and rubber soles, but there’s no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on specialty equipment right out of the gate.
Myth: It is easy to get lost or left behind.
Every year, there is a story or two about an unfortunate individual who got lost on a trail. However, it is important to remember that there are millions of other hikers who do not have this happen. With proper planning and safety precautions, people hike for years without problems. Good safety precautions on a trail include never hiking alone, telling a friend or family member where you’re hiking and when you expect to be back, and researching the trail you plan to hike. Many areas like Breckenridge have very well-marked trails, making it nearly impossible to get lost.
Myth: Bears are out to hunt hikers.
Bears can be incredibly dangerous and should be treated with respect, but it simply false to assume they are out for the sole purpose of hunting and eating hikers. It is important to give any wildlife space, and hikers should pay attention to alerts from animal control units in their area. However, like just like instances of hikers getting lost or left behind, bear attacks are rare. It is good to be prepared, but no one should let unfounded fears keep them from experiencing the joys of a good hike.