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  Sports /  Hiking /  Preparation

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The land of Beyond is a beatutiful place to hike, from casual walks in the woods to serious full-day or multi-day hikes in the mountains.

For casual walks, if you'll be wandering even a short distance away from roads, you should have decent walking shoes and a minimum of equipment (see Be Prepared, below). You can twist an ankle 10 minutes away from the road, or get confused in an unfamiliar area, and without a minimum of precautions, a simple mistake can become a major problem.

For serious hiking, you need good foot-ware, proper equipment, and experience equal to the hike. If you're new at it, or new in the area, a local guide is well worth the cost.

Be Prepared

The weather can change extremely rapidly in the mountains, and you can get snow in late Spring or early Autumn. Even if it's warm and sunny and clear, take a few precautions:

  • A space blanket (thin, reflective metal foil) is cheap, light, and takes little space. Why not carry one or two with you, in your rucksack, your car, your suitcase. If something happens to keep you out in the hills all night, the space blanket will keep you warm enough to survive.
    DANGER - Do Not cover yourself with a metallic space blanket for protection from the rain during a thunder storm. Lightning will be attracted to the metal.
  • A whistle. If you should get just a little lost, a whistle beats shouting, and could keep you from getting even more lost.
  • A couple of candy bars. You've been hiking all day in the hot sun. Now, when you had planned to be back, the sun is setting and you're still two or three hours away and you're starting to fantasize about those two sandwiches you ate at noon. Your energy level is way down, and you're ripe for an accident.
  • An extra canteen of water. You only planned to hike for an hour or two. But who knows what's going to happen to keep you out there much longer than planned (either intentionally or inadvertantly). In the hot sun of the South or the thin air of the mountains you can get dehydrated easily. And the little stream shown on your map might be dried up this month.
  • There's more, of course. But the idea here is to keep it simple enough that even the less-fanatical people take a few precautions.

    Be Careful

    Much of the Beyond region is wild and beautiful, and potentially dangerous. No park rangers, state police, barriers or saftey nets are out there guiding your every step. Enjoy yourself but take care of yourself. Do not confuse difficult and dangerous.

    Difficult passages can be fine, even fun, as long as the results of a mistake are not harmful.

    You can get into dangerous situations easily if you are not aware of what you are doing. The difference is in the possible results of a mistake. If you take an easy path along a grassy slope, it is dangerous if a slip means that you slide over the edge and fall a hundred metres. Climbing a simple-looking rock is dangerous if a short fall means that your head will bounce off rocks only four or five metres below.

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