14 Things to Know Before Your First Hike
Paige Griffith started hiking as a response to developing Chrons disease and Rheumatoid arthritis. Her doctor said that she needed to keep moving to stay healthy. Hiking was the only way she knew how. When it started becoming unsafe for her to hike alone, she reached out to some friends on Facebook to join her. Sometimes friends brought friends, sometimes strangers came and become friends, but little by little something was created. Paige Griffith had created a network of powerful women hikers. It started off with a few hikes and a few women and today has turned into a group of 653 empowered and knowledgeable women who participate in over 40 hikes a year. The facebook group called W.H.O.M, Women Hiking Over Mountains is a private group for women hikers to share their experiences, learn more about hiking and to encourage each other to go on hikes. This group not only brings you to new heights, but with it brings laughter, camaraderie, and confidence.
We spoke with Paige Griffith to get some tips for beginner hikers and to learn more about WHOM. With the new year rolling around, you might want to take on hiking as a new hobby. Here are 14 things to know before your first hike:
- You’re not the only one that is scared. First step,breath. Move your right foot, then your left foot. Repeat. One of the most important things to know is that you are not alone. Most people are scared to hike because they are petrified of the unknown. This shouldn’t stop you from hiking, but instead encourage you to fight your fears! Hike with people who are experienced and who can help you when you get your foot caught in a hole. (literally).
- You will learn a lesson every time you hike – whether it be a survival skill, surpassing your confidence level, or how to mentally prepare yourself for an emergency. Slowly you will learn your limits and how to push them safely, how to pack smarter, and what to do in every type of situation.
- Every woman is welcome. The age range varies from 18 to 70, there is no economical or social status, and you can be a beginner or expert hiker. All are happily welcomed.
- WHOM is a safe space. It’s a girls only club because this is your escape to be one with nature and learn how to survive on your own. It’s a place to share your problems, but become an independent and powerful women without anyone telling you what to do.
- One of the most important teachings – be prepared. Always have a head lamp, emergency blanket, snacks, and water. Bring what you need but not too much. Paige learns from her lessons and shares them with the girls. She says, “We talk a lot and just teach each other along the way.”
- You get a trail name! If you are a hiker, you probably already have one of these. You get it because of a memory you all shared together or because of your personality and it sticks with you. Just another way to make the hike fun and a way to get close to each other.
- Hiking is mind over matter. Paige says it is 40% physical 60% mental. You have to mentally prepare yourself for the hike.
- Gear is intimidating and expensive – that’s why we have gurus & workshops to help you out when you hike with WHOM. Once you learn, you can just keep passing that knowledge down.
- Hiking can help your mental and physical health. Nature has healing powers and hiking can help clear your mind while boosting your health and productivity. Some women in the group say it has helped them with their depression.
- The best time to hike is October to May, but that doesn’t mean we take off during the summer, that’s when we kayak and float!
- Most people don’t know, but your shoes are the most important piece of gear. They need to be a half size bigger, or you can end up with black toenails. You should wear wool socks not cotton, and there is a technique to tying your laces the right way.
- Here is a trail to try out if you are in Arkansas: Indian Rock House in Yellville, AR. It has caves, an underground river source, a natural bathtub and a mining cave. It’s great for children as well and will be sure to leave you wanting more.
- Join the facebook group! You will be amazed with all the beautiful scenery, wild experiences, and the wealth of knowledge!
- Believe in yourself! If hiking is something you have always wanted to do, this is your chance! Grab your gear and start your journey to climb to new heights!
Happy Hiking! Be sure to share your hiking pictures with us on our social media @theraftup or on the Activity Feed in the RaftUp App!