*By: Christi Shingara*
The fresh air, beautiful scenery, exploring new terrain and being with nature are all reasons why I have loved hiking from a very young age. Growing up in a rural area allowed me to enjoy the outdoors. I remember one summer my dad decided that it would be fun for the family to explore a different state park each weekend. That was the summer when I was introduced to hiking. I remember how good I would feel after hiking through the forest and how calm I became while watching the waterfalls wash over the rocks as it cascaded down the mountain. I also love the smell of fresh air, which was something I missed after I moved to the city.
Once again, I find myself back in a relatively rural area, but now I live by many hiking trails and have the option to bring my dog with me. She is a six year old Shih Tzu, named Bella who is bred to be a lap dog but has grown to also enjoy a good hike. We go on hikes every weekend and get to explore the Catskills and Hudson River Valley region. Some items I always make sure I have with me for any hike are as follows:
- Good Pair Of Hiking Boots: I currently have a pair of Anhu hiking boots. I have had them for a few years and they have held up nicely and at an affordable price. I also try to grab a walking stick when I go hiking to help with terrain and also if any snakes would happen to be on the trail.
- Water/Snacks: I always make sure I pack some water with me. My favorite water bottle right now is made by S’well. They sell many different shapes and styles of water bottles and they keep my water ice cold throughout the hike. I also bring nuts such as cashews, almonds and peanuts. These usually hold me over and give me energy on the longer hikes.
- Bug Spray: Bug spray is essential during a hike especially in the summer months when bugs are at their worst. I don’t use Deet based products but try to keep it natural such as Repel plant based bug spray.
- Don’t Forget Your Furry Friend: If you are hiking with your dog or maybe even your cat, don’t forget their needs as well. When I hike with Bella, I make sure to have her collapsible water dish with me. I currently really like Kurgo products which range from dog dishes to jackets and harnesses. Their products are reasonably priced and decent quality. I also make sure to bring some waste bags with me as well. It never fails that Bella does her “business” and sometimes not once, but a few times on our hikes. That is actually one of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t clean up after their dogs.
What do you like about hiking? Share your comments below.
Photos: Christi Shingara