Now is the perfect time to try one of the most relaxing and discovery promoting pastimes available. Hiking can be fun for everyone, but it helps to know how to be safe and where to go to make your experience fun.
Hiking can simply be defined as going outside and walking, but for people who look deeper, there are a plethora of intriguing organisms and natural structures that pop out of the environment when gazed upon.
The reason that I hike is to search for creatures that catch my eye, such as snakes and lizards. While I look though, I also get a workout. Whenever I find something interesting I photograph it, and if it is alive I might capture and release it gently to try to avoid harming it.
Try hiking because of the beautiful scenery that often displays itself along the trails. Often times you may see animals, such as owls or foxes, that you might never see otherwise when you are hiking.
Not everything is safe when out in nature though. “Biological Landmines” are almost always present. These “landmines” include any organism that may present a threat to the hiker. Some of the most common ones that may present themselves to you might include venomous snakes, chiggers, ticks, fire ants, and spiders.
Some of the ways that I protect myself from these is to wear hiking boots with thick or leather walls so that snake bites can’t penetrate them. Wearing pants while going through tall grass or normal underbrush is a good way to keep chiggers and ticks off of your legs.
When hiking you never want to be unprepared so always bring water, and a way to contact the local authorities if anything goes wrong on your hike. Never hike alone. If anything goes wrong you always want to have a buddy to help out. Lastly, always watch your footing, if you trip and fall over something or fall in a hole, it could end very badly.
Some good places to go in Knoxville would be Ijams Nature Center, an urban wilderness less than five mile from downtown which has over ten miles of trails going through fields, going along the river, and through dense forests with no fee for entry. House Mountain is another good place to go, but I would not recommend it to beginners as it can be very tough in some sections of the trails.
If you follow these recommendations then your hiking experience will be safer and more enjoyable for you and anyone that you know, and if you are interested in hiking, as a student at Central High School, the hiking club could be something for you to check out. They meet on Wednesdays in the spring after school and try out many of the trails around Knoxville while also having a pretty good time. If you would like to find out more about the hiking club ask Ms. Lawson or Ms. Higdon.
If you like the outdoors, and don’t mind a little exercise, give hiking a try. You won’t regret it.
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