National Take a Hike Day

There is a “National Something Day” just about every day of the year, but only one day of the year is dedicated to National Take a Hike Day, and that is November 17th.

Whether you are driving through the mountains of Southeast Virginia or venturing up north into Pennsylvania, there are undoubtedly several hiking spots for you to enjoy.

The Basics of Taking a Hike Along the Appalachian Trail

Image by Paulbalegend via Wikimedia Commons


It is essential to know the basics of hiking before you set foot through the Appalachian trails. The American Hiking Society sums up ten important steps:

  1. Be sure to wear the right shoes. Hiking boots offer the most support.
  2. Don’t get lost! Bring a map or use your phone’s GPS.
    • I had a personal experience with getting lost on a hiking trail. What I learned: It never hurts to have a paper map and your phone’s GPS. I made the mistake of only bringing my phone, and my phone lost service, causing me to be stuck on the trail for extra hours….oops!
  3. Water, water water. You can never pack too much water. Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated will also keep your muscles and organs performing at their best.
  4. Pack extra food. Food supplies your body with energy, and you will certainly need it while taking a hike.
  5. Wear or pack rain attire and extra clothes. Check the weather before you head out on a hike, and pack clothes accordingly. If possible, wear something other than cotton, as cotton soaks moisture and keeps it close to your skin.
  6. Pack safety items. If you are planning to hike into the evening, pack a flashlight and consider taking fire-making tools if you want to take a break and warm up along the way.
  7. Bring a first aid kit in case anything goes wrong on your hike or you come across someone along the way who needs aid.
  8. Pack a knife. This can serve multiple purposes.
  9. Take the sun into consideration and bring sunscreen if needed. Hiking in the snow? Bring sunglasses, that snow on top of mountains is BRIGHT.
  10. Bring a backpack that not only fits comfortably on your back but also secures any combination of items above that you plan to bring.

Ken Burns

You may have heard of Ken Burns. Burns is known for his series on PBS network called The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. This was filmed for more than a six-year period, covers nature, and tells the stories of people who came from different backgrounds and loved the land.

One section of the series features a Japanese immigrant who ventured through parts of Appalachia, specifically in Tennessee and North Carolina, taking photos, which were later used to deem the region a national park.

Image by Jonathunder

Fun Tidbits

  • The term “take a hike” has a second meaning. It can also be a phrase someone uses when they want someone to go away.
  • Consider bringing a trash bag on your hike to pick up trash along the way. This is something that is so simple to do, yet most of us would not think of it. Be a part of keeping Appalachia beautiful!
  • One way to help reduce the risk of blisters while on longer hikes is to spray antiperspirant on your feet.
  • The Appalachian Trail reaches over 10 states.
  • There is a school essentially dedicated to Appalachia: John C. Campbell Folk School. The school name comes from John C. Campbell, an educationalist who dedicated his time to traveling Appalachia.


If you like hiking, be sure to mark June 1, 2019, on your calendars as well. This day is dedicated to National Trails Day!

Got Mountain Life will have you prepared for all of your hiking adventures! Be sure to check out our two-part series (Hiking Preparations, Part 1 and Part 2) on all you need to do to get ready for a hike, whether it’s a 1-mile hike or a 20-mile hike through the Appalachian Trail- we’ve got you covered!

Stay up to date with other Appalachian region events and craft shows by following Got Mountain Life on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Be sure to visit our events calendar often!