How to reduce the number of times you tip over!
Proper footwear discussed in Part One
Get a walking stick. Some people have two walking sticks or ski poles or poles specifically for hiking. I have one walking stick and it has a little shock absorber (cool!) but no chrome or racing stripes (bummer!) I am too dangerous with two sticks. I will start adjusting something or lean over to pick something up and those two poles get waving around in the air. Either that or a drop one and it slides down a hill. I am not proud of it but I am lazy so I generally pull out my helpless and distressed female act at these times and get somebody else to go get my stick for me. The stick is essential when going over shaky rocks and slippery or steep spots. For me it is also great because I have a limp and my right leg will be done with hiking long before the rest of my body is ready to stop. My walking stick is from Lee Valley.
Make sure your backpack is strapped securely and close to your body. I once went out with my favourite backpack which is fine for in the city. I never noticed how much movement it was capable of. I took it out on the trail and was on one of those tricky steep down hills where you have to make a sharp turn on your way down. I made the turn, the backpack swung around and the weight of it almost took me over the side of a cliff. Here is some further advice on daypacks.
Stay on the trail unless you have to use the facilities such as they are. This way you don’t trample vegetation the next hiker might want to enjoy. You don’t trip over hidden obstacles and you don’t walk through poison ivy or worse.
Ask for help. If the terrain is rough enough that you have any risk of falling then you should not be there alone. So ask for a balancing hand over the tough spots. Don’t be shy, people love to be needed and are happy to help.
Where to hike
OK this is a little tricky as my many, many followers … all 20 of you could be hiking any place in the world. The best bet for finding a great hiking trail is to Google search the nearest big city or major area and the word trails. Odds are you will find lots of good information. Odds are you will find the web site Trails.com and their listings for the area you want. Trails.com is also great for finding child friendly trails or ones that you can bring your dog on in the area you are interested in. If you go to their main page they will want you to join. If you find them by searching for trails in a particular area you can look around without signing up for a while.
If you are in Ontario you can try Hike Ontario, The Oak Ridges Trail Association or The Bruce Trail club. Of course you could just ask me were you should go and I will surely tell you in no uncertain terms.