By Melissa Danielle
Several new Outdoor Afros braved the snow last week to drop in for a special day hiking basics class at REI’s NYC SOHO store.
The class was hosted by Scott, an avid hiker who worked as an NYC Park Ranger in Van Cortlandt Park (an 1100+ acre park in The Bronx) prior to becoming an REI Outdoor School instructor. His comprehensive and practical advice made it easy for newbie hikers to feel comfortable hopping on the trail.
Here’s what a couple of members shared after the class:
“Scott, our instructor, took time to answer our questions and was quite thorough with the material he covered. We were also able to check out his equipment hands-on, which really helped me get an understanding of what I’m looking for in my hiking gear.”
“It was a great little crash course in hiking that makes me really excited to get out soon.”
So What Makes For a Successful Day Hiking Trip in NYC?
Having your logistics in place before your day hiking trip is the best way to have a fun and invigorating experience. Make sure you and your group chooses a well marked trail and have enough food, water, sufficient layers, and proper footwear to minimize stress and risk of emergencies.
During the class, Scott covered The Ten Essentials, a list of must-haves you and everyone in your group should carry on their person for their safety and well-being. This includes food/snacks, proper hydration, maps, and a first aid kit. Members with special health concerns such as any physical limitations, asthma, and diabetes should also take steps to make sure they will be comfortable during the hike.
Plan Your Trip / Know Your Trail
There are times when I’ve traveled up to the Hudson Valley via Metro-North without an itinerary or return train schedule. I would let an adventure find me and then make my way back to the train station when I was sufficiently worn out.
When you’re out hiking with a group, an itinerary is absolutely necessary to ensure the safety, well-being, and management of your group members. If you’ve never been out on the trail you’ve selected, make plans to scope it out before you take the group with you. This way, you’ll have an idea of the trail’s intensity and can set a reasonable expectation for the length of the hike. As a bonus, look for sights that you can share with your group, such as interesting formations, plant and tree identification, and wildlife.
Keep an eye on the weather prior to your trip and be mindful of changes to the trail in the case of inclement weather.
Native NYC residents are notorious for rarely leaving their borough or going beyond Manhattan, especially on the weekends, so grab a train schedule and have good directions to and from the stations.
Day hikes offer a great opportunity to experience nature, engage in physical activity, and deepen your connection with your fellow hikers. NYC residents don’t have to travel very far for an enriching experience, so be sure to check out your options, right in your own borough!
Here are some resources to help you plan a fun, engaging, and safe day hiking experience in NYC:
We are so excited to celebrate our continued partnership/collaboration with REI!
Where are some of your favorite places to hike in and around NYC?