Hiking
by Dave

Couple on a Hiking Date
Spend your date away from the hustle and bustle of civilization while enjoying the quiet beauty of nature as you hike scenic trails together. As a date idea, hiking provides a peaceful setting for you to learn about each other and plenty to talk about. Plus, your date's reaction to hiking will let you know whether to expect an active relationship with outdoorsy events like camping and fishing, or to never leave town again.

Some good sources for local hiking spots are localhikes.com, trails.com (requires registration), searching online for "hiking your city", and your local visitor's center. Many times when you search online for local hiking spots you'll come across a hiking club. These are terrific resources; inquire about recommendations for what you'd like to see and suggestions for good trails at your fitness level.

Some hiking ideas:

  • Trail to a remote beach, waterfall, river, or lake. Preferably one where you can swim.
  • Into the mountains or hills with beautiful views of the surrounding areas.
  • An area with interesting features like vegetation, wildlife, or local landmarks (old mine, ruins, caves).
  • Along the ocean or lake.
  • Into the desert.
  • An interesting forest.
  • A place with rolling green hills.
  • During hot times of the year pick trails with shade.
When selecting a trail, try to find a loop, it's much more interesting to hike through new scenery the entire time. Beginners in average condition should stick with shorter trails, like a 2-3 mile loop, and a maximum elevation gain of 1,000 feet. Even 1,000 ft. may be pushing it, know your limits and remember that you’re out there to have fun and get to know each other, not kill yourselves. On the other hand, if you're both physically fit and like a challenge, then go for it!

One downside about hiking as a date idea is that when you get back to the car you're generally a little dusty, sweaty, and sticky. A tip I've learned is to put a few light towels or washcloths in the trunk along with jug of water. When the hike is over, dampen the towels and use them to wipe down your face, neck, arms, and legs. This is a refreshing way to end the hike and will make both of you much more comfortable and talkative on the drive back home.

If your plan is to hike somewhere with a bottle of wine and watch the sun set, remember that you will be returning to the car as it gets dark and to bring a flashlight. For more remote hikes, tell a friend or family member where you'll be and your planned route, and remember to check the weather forecast. Also, dogs can be fun hiking companions, but check first whether they're welcome on the trail, if there are bins to dispose of doggie waste, and remember plastic bags to clean up after your pooch. Always take out everything you bring in!

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Tips

Don't forget hats, bug spray, sunblock, and plenty of water. Trail maps are nice too.

Cost

Call ahead to see if there's a park usage or parking fee.

Food

Easy things like granola, energy bars, fruit, beef jerky.

Links

Good source for trails

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