Hiking Hints

Welcome to the Connestee Falls Hikers. We meet on Tuesday mornings at the swimming pool parking lot and carpool to our planned trailhead. Information about hikes for the following week can  be found in the Friday Flyer and on the “Upcoming Hikes” page of this website.

If you are a hiker new to this area, or if you have not hiked for several years and are not in a regular exercise program, we would like you to use extreme caution in selecting the hikes you wish to attempt. When we say a hike is:

  • Strenuous – we mean a very difficult hike with lots of miles and/or significant climb in elevation, with the possibility of difficult terrain.  Only those in excellent physical shape should attempt these hikes.
  • Moderately Strenuous – we mean a challenging hike which involves significant miles, elevation change and/or difficult terrain.  Not for the beginner.
  • Moderate – we mean a hike with some distance, (3 to 6 miles) and a fair amount of elevation change.  A hike that will take a good bit of physical exertion.   Definitely not a “stroll.”
  • Easy – we mean hikes which are shorter with less elevation change.  However, they are still hikes on unpaved forest trails.  Don’t expect them to be the same as a stroll around your neighborhood.

Note:  Even “Easy” hikes can be dangerous depending upon trail conditions.  Any of our hikes may involve travel to remote parts of the southern Appalachian mountains where medical assistance is not available.  In some areas, evacuation in case of emergency can be challenging and time consuming (not to mention expensive).  Therefore, visitors and guests, particularly those who are not regular hikers and/or not familiar with the mountains, should be aware that our activities involve a fair degree of personal risk for which each participant is personally responsible. Please be considerate of your fellow hikers by following these suggestions.

No matter what level the hike, you should do the following to prepare and participate:

  • Wear sturdy hiking boots.  Sneakers are a sure sign that you are an unprepared novice.  We cross lots of streams, so expect wet conditions, even on dry days.  
  • Make sure your boots have good traction.  We encounter lots of slippery, rocky conditions.  A nasty fall in a remote area can make for a really unpleasant experience.
  • Don’t take risks, especially around waterfalls and precipices.  Remember that every year people lose their lives while hiking in some of the locations we will be visiting.
  • Don’t wander away from the group.  When the group is large, it is difficult for the hike leaders to make sure no one is left behind.  If you get separated from the group you will inconvenience a lot of people and possibly incur unnecessary risk to yourself and others.  If you do have to leave the group temporarily, for personal reasons, make sure someone knows where you are.
  • Maintain visual contact with the person in front of you and the person behind you.  If you lose visual contact with the person behind you call ahead for the leader to stop until the person behind catches up.
  • Bring plenty of food, raisins, trail mix, etc.  In addition, we usually eat lunch on the trail.
  • Bring plenty of liquids – preferably water.  Avoid caffeinated drinks.  With the exertion of hiking, dehydration is an ever-present concern.
  • Layer clothing. Many people overdress and become extremely warm while hiking. Wear layers that are easy to remove.  A good rule of thumb in cool weather – if you are a little cold starting out, you are probably dressed about right.
  • Since there is frequently snow and ice on the trails during the winter, some of our hike notices will state that ice cleats are required. It’s a good idea to have some in your pack on winter hikes. If you don’t have these, here are a couple of products to consider:

Stabilicers
YakTrax

  • Have sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • It’s a good idea to carry a whistle for signaling.
  • Bring along rain gear – even if it’s just a garbage bag.
  • Sunglasses are a good idea, both for the usual reason and also to protect your eyes from twigs and branches.
  • Inform the leaders of any medical problem that you have. While we can not take responsibility for assessing your ability to do a particular hike, it can be helpful if we know about your medical condition if you get into trouble.
  • Please don’t bring alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, radios, mp3 players, etc.
  • Please use cell phones only in an emergency so the rest of us can enjoy the peace and quiet of our surroundings. 
  • We have found that taking pets on our hikes does not work out.  Please don’t ask.
  • The old adage, take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, applies.  Be prepared to carry out everything you carry in.
  • We are fortunate to live in an area that contains countless magnificent places to visit.  Come prepared to enjoy nature at its finest.

Comments and hike suggestions are always welcome and can be E-mailed to 28tuck1@gmail.com