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Walkers/hikers


Date: 17/06/2013
Source: A.C.C.A.W. (BE)

Hiking as we know it, or practise it today, started out in the XIXth century. The first long distance walking routes were mapped out in France in 1947 by the “Comité national des sentiers de grande randonnée“ (National Committee for Long Distance Trails/Footpaths) that later became the “Fédération française de randonnée pedestre“ (French Hiking Federation).
In addition to being a sporty activity, walking (or hiking) is often an opportunity for intellectual and spiritual refreshment. Whereas the traditional Sunday walk is simply a welcome break from one’s daily routine, some groups (e.g. pilgrims on the St. Jacques de Compostella Way) make the most of being away for longer and having the chance to unwind. They use the time to take stock and for inner reflection, communicating with others and getting close to nature once more.

A hiker’s “gear“ (equipment) is very important and should include:
1. Backpack (maximum weight 25 kgs)
2. Walking boots - they should be comfortable, waterproof and breathable. The ankle must be protected and supported.
3. Clothes (waterproof anorak), first aid kit, water, warm sweater, comfortable walking trousers, shorts, t’shirts, towel, perhaps gloves and a hat if you are walking at altitude.
4. Good quality sleeping bag for nights spent in a hut or tent.
5. Walking poles, sunglasses and suncream, sunhat, torch, camera, toilet bag (plus contents) and … toilet paper.

You should make proper preparations for a hike, especially in the mountains. Plan your intended route, make sure you have appropriate equipment, work out your hiking time carefully, check the weather forecast before setting out (abandoning the hike if bad weather sets in). Make sure someone knows your route, the time you set off and the approximate time you expect to return.