WCC Members Should Get Outdoors this Summer

With spring finally in session, Westchester residents can begin to enjoy the outdoors without fear of a blizzard rolling in. This summer, WCC students can potentially take advantage of some adventurous, or even soothing recreational activities.

From hiking to kayaking, there is plenty to enjoy. Within the 500 square miles of the county multiple trails, lakes, and state parks can be found, accessible for a small entry fee, parking price or in some locations, free. While there is plenty to do, it’s important to take skill levels into consideration.

For instance, if you have never spent a day in your life hiking, it may not be appropriate to tackle Anthony’s Nose, a trail located just north of the Bear Mountain Bridge. Known for its scenic views and rocky paths, this trail is not for those who are unconditioned to hiking, or timid of heights with its steep climbs and a maximum height of 927 feet above sea level.

Start off small to condition the muscles for the big stuff. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your body might not be ready to take on the steep staircase, let alone a mountain.

Something that can be dangerous, and potentially fatal if overlooked, is the importance of staying hydrated when doing physical activities outside. There is some debate as to how much water is appropriate for average consumption, but two liters seems to be the general rule of thumb.

Add in any activity, it would be wise to bring an extra liter, but the overall goal is to not feel the sense of thirst, the tale tell sign of dehydration. Hikers or any athletic minded individual should hydrate in the days leading to a physically demanding activity.

The right gear is another vital arena to keep in mind. Break in new shoes before a big hike or run to prevent painful blisters, use life vests when it’s deemed necessary, and be mindful of clothing and how it will work in the environment or weather that day.

At this point it should be safe to say that there is a fair amount of planning involved, or at least there should be. The phrase “know before you go” cannot be understated.

If you are going to a national park or a hiking trail, find out if there is a cover charge to get in or park. We might live in the 21st century with the convenience of apple pay, but cash is king and in some places it’s the only option.

Maps may seem outdated or just plain useless in the age of technology, but out on the trails cell phone service can be shotty or impossible. It’s a good idea to keep one handy, but more importantly it’s better to stay on marked trails and let someone know where you are going, just in case.

It’s also a good idea to travel with friends. Going out alone is always an option, but it’s best to have a support system in case things go other than planned. It can also make any experience more enjoyable when shared.

To wrap up this basic list of guidelines is a note of housekeeping. Be it in the rivers, trails, mountains or beaches, it should be said that nothing should be taken away from the land, and nothing man made should be left behind.

Trash such as plastic, clothing, and food waste should not be left behind in any outdoor scene. Not only is it unsightly for fellow outdoor enthusiasts, it can be toxic or deadly to the environment and the animals that live within in it. Keep the outdoors clean, safe, and enjoyable for all.

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