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On the Hike

 

Appalachian Trail Day Hikers

For health 

Sip small amounts of water frequently. Drink more than you think you need.

Listen to your body. If your feet hurt, stop and take off your shoes. Let your feet dry and massage them. Apply moleskin or duct tape before "hot spots" become blisters.

Know the signs of hypothermia and heat exhaustion. These are two of the most common causes of trouble in the woods, and are preventable and treatable. Stopping frequently to remove or add clothing layers to stay comfortable, keeping an eye on your hiking partners, and knowing the early warning signs can make a big difference.

Know how to recognize poison ivy. The A.T. is generally so well-maintained by volunteers, you almost never will have to walk through poison ivy. But if you're not paying attention, you could step into it along the edge of the trail. "Leaves of three, let them be." 

Keep an eye out for ticks. Check yourself for ticks frequently, and avoid sitting directly on the ground or logs. 

Etiquette

Greet hikers you encounter. The A.T. is known as a friendly place; help keep the tradition!

Yield to uphill hikers. When you see someone coming, look for a rock or bare ground off the side of the trail so you don't damage moss or crush plants when you step aside. 

Avoid cutting switchbacks. You might be eager to get back to your car and and kids might want to have a race down the mountain, but taking a shortcut on those hairpin turns in the trail leads to erosion. 

Keep your dog on a leash, and pick up after your pup. Find more tips here.

Be prepared for bathroom breaks. Make sure you have a toilet kit with a toilet paper, a zip-lock bag, hand sanitzer, and a trowel to dig a hole if you have to poop. When you have to go, make sure you are 200 feet from water. Make sure you carry out all paper, wipes, and feminine products. Find more info on how to dispose of waste properly here.

Carry out your trash (you might want to bring an extra zip-lock or plastic grocery bag). You can be a "trail angel" by picking up any trash you see along the way or at the trailhead parking lot.

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