7 Common Hiking Mistakes to Avoid
Take smaller steps on rocky patches-—this will keep your hips over your feet—and lean forward as the pitch gets steeper. Taking large, fast steps up an ascending rock face can strain your calf and Achilles tendon, Pohja says. It can also lead to another mistake: "Beginners often spot a good step and take it without checking to see where they'll go next." Keep looking a few paces ahead or you may find yourself in a dead end.
6. They get distracted by the views.
A glimpse of the Grand Tetons, a Smoky Mountain vista...these are the reasons you're out there in the woods, and they are practically irresistible. But Pohja says that when hikers are taking in the view, they aren't paying attention to where they're going. If the last thing you want is to hobble all the way back to camp, she suggests stopping for a photo break. If you're feeling nervous about that dramatic drop-off to the right of the trail, Pohja has some advice. She calms her anxious students by reminding them to "look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go." The body tends to follow the gaze, so try keeping your eyes away from the cliff and on the path in front of you.
7. They race down hills.
Making your way down the mountain can take longer than climbing up. There's no real way to hurry it up. Giving in to momentum and crashing down trails often leads to nasty spills. Also, if you're not in control, you may not abide by the rules of the trail by giving those going uphill the right of way.