It goes without saying that hikers are pretty compassionate people. I mean, not to stereotype or anything, but this lifestyle, in general, requires trust, support, and understanding of others. Therefore, it’s no wonder that a majority of hikers are eager to help one another, whether it be on the trail or in general. If you’re a veteran hiker or you just like to surround yourself with positive vibes, then consider helping a fellow hiker in one of these creative ways.
1. Be a Volunteer
One way to help hikers in need is by being a volunteer. The American Hiking Society has what they call “Volunteer Vacations.” Okay, so you might not be helping another hiker directly, but you will be doing a service that’s meaningful to all hikers in the long run. Volunteer projects typically involve doing trail cleanup and maintenance, which will definitely mean a lot to hikers who come after you. Of course, if you’re interested, there are tons of other ways to volunteer in your local hiking community. Just do some research and find what’s best for you!
2. Donate Your Gear
Gear is not always cheap, and sometimes, it can limit people from experiencing the outdoors to the fullest. If you have some old gear you don’t need anymore, don’t throw it away! Donate it to someone who’s in need. A person who is about to try hiking for the first time, and doesn’t want to invest right away. A kid who recently discovered a passion for hiking. Someone who has a trip coming up and just got a rip in their bag. Whatever it is, you can really help someone out without losing anything. And, if you can’t donate your gear, you can lend it!
3. Support Someone on Their First Hike
So, you recently met someone or you have a friend who wants to try hiking. Maybe you’ve convinced them, or maybe they’ve just gotten up the courage. However, they’re a little hesitant about hitting the trail all by themselves.
Luckily, you have some time you can take off. Offer to go with this person on a hike. Maybe you don’t have the time or the desire to hike the whole AT with him or her, but do what you can. After all, it’s the thought that counts.
4. Share Your Hiking Experiences
This is a great way to help a fellow hiker. By sharing your hiking experiences, you can let hikers prepare better for hikes they may have coming up. Have you ever read a review on a hotel that made you think twice about your booking? Writing trail reviews or outdoor itineraries works much the same way. Make sure to include all the important details, your likes and dislikes, as well as what you might have done differently.
5. Lend a Hand
Sharing your experiences verbally or over the web is one thing, but actually lending a hand to someone is another. When you’re out on a hike and you see someone struggling to get up that cliff, see if you can help out. If you’re at a campsite and you notice some rookies having trouble starting their campfire or assembling their tent, offer some assistance. There’s really no limit on what you can do to help a fellow hiker.
6. Be Aware of Your Surroundings While On the Trail
This goes without saying. While you’re hiking, make sure to constantly be aware of your surroundings. Not just for yourself, but other hikers out there who may be in a desperate situation and need help. Make sure you are aware of all the signals of a person in distress. It wouldn’t hurt to brush up on a little first aid, too. If you notice someone that appears a bit off while you’re hiking, go check him or her out and ask if they need anything. Remember, you would want someone to be able to do the same for you.
There are so many ways to help out a fellow hiker on and off the trail. Though you should always take care of yourself first, it’s a good thing to look out for others every once in a while.