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Headshot of Audrey Heath

Audrey Heath

Communication, Art + Technology › Communication, Arts + Social Sciences › Indigenous Studies
SFU Recreation Services, SFU Indigenous Student Centre
Promotions Senior Leader, Communications Program Assistant, Communications Coordinator

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A picture of a canyon and a lake.
Hiking is a great way to get outside, get some fresh air, exercise, and explore nature!

This blog was originally posted on the SFU Recreation blog on September 10th, 2021.

Summer is coming to an end, so you need to make sure to enjoy the sun while you can! We live in beautiful British Columbia, which provides us with so many different parks, forests and landscapes to experience all that nature has to offer. There are a lot of different levels of hiking whether you plan on doing a 1-hour hike close to home, or a weeklong backpacking adventure. Let's talk about what you need to know before you go hiking!
 

Hiking 101

When going hiking it is important to be prepared! Depending on how extreme your hike is, you will need to pack some different items. But even on the most basic hikes, it is important to show up with the essentials.

  1. Water

    • Staying hydrated is super important! I know that carrying a heavy water bottle for a short hike seems pointless, but you won't regret it. If you choose to carry a smaller water bottle, keep some extras in the car for when you return! There is nothing better than a big glass of water after a nice long hike.

    • Buying a bladder for your backpack makes it so much easier to stay hydrated throughout the hike. It makes your water easily accessible at any point.

    • Another option, if you know that you will be hiking near a water source, is to buy a LifeStraw. This means you will have less to carry around and as long as there is a fresh water supply you will have more than enough water for your trip! There are a few different options to make sure that you stay hydrated during your hike.

  2. Food

    • Before heading out, a good meal is the perfect way to start off your hike strong! Oatmeal, eggs, fruit, nut butters, and lean meats are yummy ingredients to include in your pre-hike meal. Packed with nutrients, they will be sure to provide you with lasting energy throughout the day!

    • Even if you are going on a short hike, make sure you bring some snacks. It is important to stay nourished while hiking because you burn a lot of calories. Refuelling is important to keep up your stamina. Fruits, vegetables, and even cheese, can be refreshing snack choices for shorter hikes! For longer hikes, foods that contain lots of proteins, calories, fibers, and carbohydrates are key to keeping up your energy.

  3. Bear Safety

    • In BC it is common to see bears so it's important to be prepared. Wild Safe BC offers 10 great tips to know before entering bear country. Do your research before you go, be aware of your surroundings, and bring bear spray or a bear banger just to be on the safe side.

    • Bear bells are also important to warn bears you are coming so that you don't spook them.

  4. Appropriate Footwear

    • Hiking in BC provides you with lots of different terrains and landscapes. Make sure you are prepared, whether it is a flat muddy trail or a steep rocky path. Hiking boots are essential - make sure to have good ankle support.

  5. Fully Charged Phone

    • When you head out on your hike, make sure to have a fully charged phone. This way, if you get lost or turned around, you can be sure your phone won't be dead.

    • However, you should research the trail you are hiking before going. When hiking in the backcountry you may not always have cell phone reception.

    • Before starting your journey, tell someone where you are going, when you arrive, and when you plan to be back.

    • As well, it may be a good idea to purchase a satellite phone. This ensures that even if you are out of cell range and there is an emergency, you can still call for help.

Trail Suggestions

The Lower Mainland provides so many amazing hiking opportunities that I couldn't possibly list them all here. AllTrails is a great resource for finding new trails. Downloading the AllTrails app allows you to search by region, difficulty, length and more.

  • Malcolm Knapp Research Park is a great trail for beginners! It has various trail options starting with the Red and Yellow loop trail, which is 4.3km around. Located in Maple Ridge, it is lightly trafficked and a very well maintained trail. The one downside is that it does not allow dogs.

  • Minnekhada Regional Park offers a variety of trail options with some amazing viewpoints of the Lower and Upper Marsh, and Pitt River. Take this opportunity to get out of the city and head to Coquitlam for a new adventure! But most importantly, dogs are allowed on leash!

  • Joffre Lakes Provincial Park offers hikers a chance to get off the grid and back into nature. Although it is a steep one, it is definitely worth the view. Starting from the parking lot, just past Pemberton you are hiking up a mountain with about 500m of elevation gain. Passing by Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre Lakes, is quite the beautiful sight of blue, glacier runoff. This could be a day trip, or an overnighter, depending what you are interested in doing.

Backpacking

Looking for something a little more adventurous than hiking? Why not try backpacking? If you enjoy hiking and camping, it's the best of both worlds. Take the opportunity to go off the grid for a few days and experience nature. With that being said, make sure you are prepared to go backpacking. This includes having all of your safety, shelter and sustenance supplies. To learn about how to start your backpacking journey, check out Backpacking for Beginners. Start small with a one nighter close to home, such as Half Moon Beach at Golden Ears Provincial Park.
 
 
Hiking is a great way to get outside, get some fresh air, exercise, and explore nature! The Lower Mainland has many hiking opportunities, so make sure to pack the essentials and start exploring! Looking for some hiking buddies to go on an adventure with? Check out the SFU Recreation Discord or SFU Hiking Club.

About the Author

Headshot of Audrey Heath

Audrey Heath

Communication, Art + Technology › Communication, Arts + Social Sciences › Indigenous Studies
SFU Recreation Services, SFU Indigenous Student Centre
Promotions Senior Leader, Communications Program Assistant, Communications Coordinator
Audrey Heath (she/hers) is from the Gitxsan Nation currently working as the Communications Program Assistant at the SFU Indigenous Student Centre. As well as being a fourth year Communications and Indigenous Studies Double Major.

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