Plan the route
- Study the route on the map, map, or guide where information about it is included. It is essential to know the slope, the total length, whether it is circular or not, the estimated duration …
- A walking speed of 4 kilometers per hour is usually taken as a reference. Try to be quite conservative if you go with children or depending on the state of form of the participants, or if it is very uneven routes. It is essential to have an approximate idea of the duration to plan the departure time and avoid getting it at night.
- Keep in mind if there may be particular situations during the route: crossing streams, the possibility of snow accumulated in some section, sections that are not passable for whatever reason (eg, depending on the season) …
- Weather forecast for the place, date, and time of departure.
- Try always to go out accompanied. If you have any mishap (a simple ankle sprain), you will have someone to help you or to ask for help. Ideally, go in groups of at least three people: if someone has a problem, one person can keep the affected person while the other goes to seek help.
- Always inform someone you trust that you are going to leave the route: if something happens to you and you cannot ask for help for whatever reason, that person can inform and facilitate your location.
- Prepare your backpack and your equipment (see next sections)
During the route
The most important thing is to apply common sense. Hiking is enjoying nature; it does not consist of breaking speed or distance records, especially if we are not physically prepared.
- If that day, for whatever reason you feel bad, it is preferable not to go out to do the route, since you will have a wrong time and you will also harm your group.
- Not everyone has the same physical form, and we can all have a bad day, we can feel bad during the route, more tired than usual, etc. You always have to adapt to the person with the lowest rhythm.
- If you reach a stretch that you consider dangerous or that is above your means, it is preferable to turn around.
- Not leave anyone behind
- You have to drink frequently but in small amounts. Ration the water to last the whole day, keeping at least a small reserve until you are very close to the end of the day.
- Whenever possible, carry a topographic map of the area through which the route passes, with the waymarked. The signaling is not always perfect, and sometimes we can get confused. The topographic map helps you identify the terrain around you and take references. If you see that you have lost the right path, try to retrace your steps to the last mark of the path.
- Respect nature. Do not yell and do not make too much noise (you will disturb the animals and other people who are doing the route). Of course, do not leave garbage or waste, or even organic waste (fruit peels, etc.), collect everything in a bag and take it back. Do not tear plants or branches, etc. In short, enjoy the countryside and leave it as you have found it, or better, for example, if you take back garbage that has previously left some ‘pig.’
- Also, respect private property. Do not trample the fields: if you have to go through a field or cultivated land, do it in an Indian row through an area that harms as little as possible. Do not take fruits or any product from private farms. If the route crosses private property, leave everything as it was (fencing gates, fences, etc.). If any owner has cut the usual access to the route in some way, it is preferable to turn around and communicate it at the Town Hall or the Tourist Office or the Civil Guard, etc.