How do you start backpacking if you don’t have any experience? The answer is simple – you just have to start backpacking!
We asked a professional mountain guide, who has been organizing hikes in the for the last 15 years. He has never heard of a single case of wildlife attacks in the States. There are cows or bulls or similar animal that people often approach them to take pictures or touch them.
Cows aren’t dangerous, they won’t run to attack you. They’ll defend themselves if you bother them. But categorically, it is not recommended to approach calves – the mother will protect them. The weight of a cow is about 500 kg, and a blow of horns can throw you at 10 feet or more.
We must not also forget the sheepdogs. They protect the herd and are aggressive, it is known. Normally hikers do not know the following fact: one should not cross a flock of sheep in the middle. Dogs analyze it as a danger, as a predator. So they’re going to attack you, for sure! Bite wounds on the legs happen frequently. You have to get out of the way and get as far as you can.
So there is no particular risk. The problems that generate the most interventions are the people who get lost. The first tip is the one that each mountain guide can give you: be able to orient yourself and use real maps. Often people who don’t have a lot of experience just go to the tourist office and listen to a little explanation on a few routes. But what is a tourist map? It’s a drawing.
The first thing you need to learn is how to orient. You have to know how to check between the compass and the map.
There are two types of map orientation. The first is an orientation on the ground lines. It is necessary to go on the field line and rotate the map so that the direction of the line on the map coincides with the direction of the line on the field.
If you follow a river and you see that on the map it goes in a certain direction it is sure that you will not get lost. You can go down and go along the river bed – it’s always lower.
The terrain lines – they’re forested trails, a chair lift line if you’re close to a ski resort, a ridge line – if you stay right on the ridge, you’re not mistaken – it’s obvious.
We need to find a line that matches your card. And you also need a compass.
The second method is to orient the map to the compass. With the help of the compass, we define the dimensions of the horizon. To do this, you need to put the compass horizontally, release the brake if it is there. The arrow will be placed in the direction of the North pole. Turn after the arrow, stand facing north. Behind, there will be the south, left the west, right the east. The same sides of the light are indicated on the circular compass scale. Then place the map in relation to the dimensions of the horizon.
The colors help too, but not too much. The green color for example – it is the forest. But you should know that maps are not made all the time. When you buy a map, in the quarter of the map there is information that marks the date. It is necessary to remember: the forest evolves and is exploited for wood etc. the whole area of the forest can be cut.
There are also phone apps with GPS-it’s super easy. But if there is no battery you need the map and the compass!
So to summarize our beginner backpacking advice, you will need a:
-The map and compass
– A GPS tracker or your laptop with apps
– A large battery of high capacity to charge the tracker or the laptop
– hiking sticks
And for the bottom of the backpack: clothing for changing, including a small waterproof jacket, something to eat, always something to drink and first aid kit.