With 31 Days of Geocaching in full gear, we thought we would give you a few pointers on how to keep your cool in the midst of all the craziness.
Tip #1: Don’t hit that snooze alarm!
We love lazy weekend mornings as much as the next guy, but hiking days are not the days to roll over and hit the snooze button. Partner Programs Manager Annie Love (Username: Love) admits that she’s not the biggest morning fan but still says, “Getting on the trail before the temperatures rise will make for a more pleasant experience and help avoid factors like heat exhaustion, dehydration and loss of sodium from mass amounts of sweat!”
Tip #2: Bring lots (and we mean LOTS) of H20
A big hike is not the day to skimp on drinking your water. Community Liaison to Engineering – as well as expert hiker and world-renowned geocacher – Jon Stanley (Username: Moun10Bike) gives us the lowdown: “Without water, your body will dehydrate, causing a loss in performance, dizziness, and possibly heat stroke. The general consensus is that hikers should carry about two liters of water on them, and drink about 1 pint (or 1/2 liter) every hour. The actual number will depend on the climate, level of exertion, and individual needs. Today there are many options for bottles or backpacks with water bladders that make it a snap to carry water and access it easily on the trail.”
Tip #3: Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray
Dude, bug bites and sunburns are not cool. Sunscreen is absolutely vital for a long day out on the trail. Excessive sun exposure speeds up dehydration and can result in sunburns, which can increase your risk of melanoma (skin cancer). As for bug spray, Jon says it’s more of a personal choice whether or not you decide to use it. Annie, on the other hand, is not a fan of bugs, “OMG, bugs are annoying! Do you want to enjoy the hike? Be prepared for those little buggars!”
Tip#4: Shoes should be more than a fashion statement
You know what else isn’t cool? Getting a blister. Annie says, “Waterproof boots with good ankle support are the best for summer trails. It’s a good idea to buy a half size larger than you normally wear as your feet will swell when hiking. Having boots that fit properly with thick (wool is ideal) socks will help keep blisters away.” Jon says you can also help prevent blisters by wearing shoes that are already broken in. A long hike is not the place to test drive your new kicks!
Tip #5: Do your research
It’s hard to know how to gear up if you don’t know the trail conditions. Annie reminds us that there are great resources out there to help you get prepared. “Check to see if there are websites that offer information on the hike you’re going on, or buy a local hiking guide that includes trail information and directions. I like to check out websites that allow for hikers to leave their trip reports so I can be prepared for any current trail conditions (snow on the trail, trees down or other obstacles that might make a difference in how you plan for the hike). Check on Geocaching.com to see if there is useful trail information in the description of the geocaches, or if recent finders provided useful information or pictures.”
Check yourself before you wreck yourself. We know that earning 31 Souvenirs in a row sounds totally awesome. But we also know that taking care of yourself (and your family, friends, and pets) should be the priority. If finding a geocache makes you feel unsafe or if keeping up the streak is taking too much away from other aspects of life, it’s okay to DNF that one. There will always be more opportunities to log a “Found it” or earn a Souvenir….so don’t sweat it too much!
Tip #7: Don’t forget your faithful geocaching companion Old Yeller
Your dog may like to eat hots dogs, but he sure doesn’t want to be one! Remember that your favorite geocaching companion is only “mammal” too. Brings lots of water, snacks, and love for your pet with you on the trail. Oh! And don’t forget the poop bags! No one want to FTF the little presents that your pet may decide to leave behind.
How do you keep healthy, happy, and cool as a cucumber while out on the geocaching trail? Share your tips in the comments below.