Tips for a safe route

Date: 19/11/2022 Author: Darío O.

First of all, we have to clarify that these recommendations are not incompatible or exclusive with any other guide or advice for the good hiker / cyclist. Each measure collected here must be looked at through the magnifying glass of the context of the route. For example, a recommendation of the type "travel light" loses steam when you have to stay overnight for more than one day.


1º Wear appropriate clothing. It seems quite obvious, but the calculation of how warm the clothes should be is not so obvious. Checking the weather the day before departure can be a great ally, especially if the starting point of the route is quite far from your home and temperatures can vary. In general, comfortable and light clothing if the cold allows it is usually the best. There are so many possible options and combinations that we are not going to stop to break them down here, but a garment that is common to hikers and cyclists, and is usually a great comfortable-thermal panacea is the windbreaker.


2º Take hydration and enough food. This is the only point that we must allow to clash with comfort, since dehydration is one of the most serious dangers that beset hikers of all kinds. Do not get us wrong, the liquid container must be comfortable to carry, but you must not skimp on the content, which must be, as we say, always more and not just. Almost all of the world's natural sources of water are unfit for consumption, be it from human waste or cattle feces, so the last thing you want if you have a problem in the forest is having to drink from a river or pond. . The food, on the other hand, must be highly nutritious and if possible caloric. If you lose yourself, it's not the best time to diet.


3º Choose the weight and the backpack well. If you are taking your first steps doing routes, I know what you are thinking. No, do not take your college/university backpack on a field trip. These "academic" backpacks are designed to carry books, so they distribute the weight poorly when it is made up of what you need for a cycling or trail route.

The general rule of thumb here is: wear the smallest pack possible as close to your body as possible without “dancing”. What is strictly necessary for the route will vary depending on its duration and location, but we emphasize here that you have to bring extra hydration. What we can say is what is not strictly necessary and should be left at home for comfort: headphones, speakers, cameras, board games, consoles (yes, we know of cases of people who have taken them on excursions), liquids that they do not hydrate (carbonated drinks, alcohol…) or non-nutritious foods.


4º Do not travel alone. Travel with at least one other person. This is especially important in environments far from civilization, since in the face of a crippling injury, being alone can be disastrous. The countryside and the mountains are not something to be taken lightly, even the forest rangers, so expert on the trails, make them go in pairs. Because of his position, the traveling companion should be a trustworthy person and, if possible, with a better sense of direction than your own.


5º Familiarize yourself with the route beforehand.Before leaving, it is imperative that you do a little study of the area, the possible dangers, temperatures and, above all, the map to follow. You must not follow routes of dubious reliability or that issues may cross protected areas without authorization or private farms. Of course, the source of information on the ground must be reputable and doubtful, as far as possible, of inexperienced hikers and cyclists. Also familiarize yourself with the different types of signs and beacons. If it is a trail route, it looks for the "wind markers" that, with total certainty, other hikers will have placed. A small clarification here on a subject that in its day makes all novices doubt: private hunting reserves can be crossed, as long as another law does not prevent it, since they delimit a private area for hunting,


6º Do not leave the path. Whether by bicycle or walking, the traffic of other hikers and/or animals will have left a noticeable mark, not to say bald, on the ground. This is the path or path to follow and no other. Not only because it is probably the shortest option, but because when you leave you will be adding additional obstacles, crushing vegetation for no reason and, probably, disorienting future hikers who will be suffering from your new "route". All this takes on a special aspect if we are talking about an environment with protected species, crushing which can lead to economic sanctions.

7º The mobile must be an ally, not an enemy.The mobile and route tracking applications, such as OruxMaps, are a wonderful tool that allow you to calmly take a route through even the most unknown of places for one. But the dependence on the phone should not be abused, especially considering that they have limited batteries. Our recommendation here is that if your mobile has what is commonly known as a "cascaded battery", do not venture with it as the only mapping tool in an unfamiliar environment. The battery, in this case, must be long-lived and not open to surprises. The tracking of the route is a function that consumes the battery of a mobile phone moderately quickly, so if you have doubts about whether it will last you or not, just follow the map route with it, without tracking the route.

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