The longest journey begins with a single step.
Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
Going for a hike can be a fun way to spend time in the outdoors. You may see plants and animals you've never seen before, and you'll go places that only hikers go.
When you go on a hike
- Dress for the hike. Wear sneakers or hiking boots, not sandals. Bring a warm jacket even if it's hot at home. It's cooler in the woods and on mountains.
- Carry your own gear. (You'll find a list of gear you should take in Your Gear.)
- Hike with a buddy.
- Stay with your group. If you run ahead or lag behind, you may miss a turn and become lost.
- Never play hide and seek on a hike.
- Always wait at trail junctions.
- Be a responsible hiker. Carry all your trash out.
If you get lost
- STAY IN ONE PLACE. If you wander, it will be harder for searchers to find you.
- Stay together if you're with a friend or pet.
- Blow your whistle every few minutes.
- Stay warm and dry. You can snuggle up with your friend or dog. Or use your garbage bag to make a poncho. Most of your body heat escapes through your head, so cover it with a hat or scarf. And don't lie on the bare ground, because that will make you colder.
- Don't hide. Stay in the open where searchers can see you. Put out something bright for searchers to see like a bandana.
- Protect yourself from wind and rain.
Don't be afraid
- Mom and Dad won't be mad because you're lost. They'll be very happy to see you again. And they'll be proud that you remembered what to do when lost.
- As soon as they know you're lost, they'll get searchers to help find you.
- Wild animals don't like to be near people. If they sense you're near, they'll run away.
- If you hear a noise, make a noise back. If it's an animal, it will run away. If it's a searcher, they'll find you.
- Nothing changes because it gets dark. Try to memorize your surroundings while it's light; then you'll know where things are in the dark.
- You can sing, whistle or tell yourself a story to make yourself feel better.