Hiking 101, start hiking the Blue Ridge

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Roanoke, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke is known by many as an epicenter for outdoor lovers. The city has been named “One of the Best Mountain Towns in America” by Men’s Journal as well as “Top Adventure Town” by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. These mentions go along with many other accolades.

Whether you have lived here your entire life or you’ve just pulled into the Star City with your Uhaul, you may find that you haven’t gotten to explore the ample trails in our region due to not knowing where to begin.

Luckily, there’s no better time than the present. With changing colors of the leaves and crisp fall days ahead, taking that first step onto the trail can be great for the mind and body.

Manager of Walkabout Outfitter of downtown Roanoke, Ruby Fernandez has been on extreme backpacking trips as a former Wilderness Guide and Recreational and Programs Director.

Fernandez offers guidance on the necessities for the trail. A list can be found below, but let’s get to the fun part! Once you’re outfitted with gear and have water in tow, Fernandez says the key is to smart small.

“There’s great day hikes around the area here in Roanoke, something like Mill Mountain star would be a perfect day hike for you to start and then you can test your gear. We have maps and books here in the store. The staff can help you know the area and what you can do for a day hike. Roanoke Outside has great information. They have the mileage on every single trail, how to get there, how to start, how to finish… but, definitely you want to start small.”

Ruby Fernandez, Manager of Walkabout Outfitter of downtown Roanoke

When you’ve found the perfect trail, make sure you let someone know where you’re adventuring for the day. Once you get there, you want to be cognizant of others and practice trail etiquette. Implementing leave no trace principles is a good start.

“You want make sure that you use the trails that are built, make sure that you pack all of your trash so you don’t have trash on the trail for the next person that’s going to use the trail. Also, be aware of animals. You don’t want to leave food on the trails.”

Ruby Fernandez, Manager of Walkabout Outfitter of downtown Roanoke

Most importantly, you want to enjoy yourself, disconnect from devices, connect with the thousands of miracles nature has to offer. Being present, listening to the rustling of trees, and reaching a beautiful view can provide the richest moments and memories. Living amongst the Blue Ridge mountains is something to be grateful for…

BEGINNER’S GEAR LIST:

  • Waterproof, breathable closed toed shoes
  • Wool Socks
  • Synthetic Hiking Pants
  • Layers (avoid cotton)
  • Rain Jacket
  • Day pack – backpack
  • Snacks
  • First Aid Kit
  • Water
  • Headlamp
  • Map

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