Pack the Necessities and Pack Light
Sufficient food and water are essential on a strenuous hike.
Consider the gear you already have in your pack, how long you will be out on the trail, and what the temperature will be.
Food and water are two things you don't want to skimp on. Protein bars, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit are all good choices that won't be too affected by the sun and don't take up much space. Be sure to pack a lot of water or research your trail to see if there are any places you can fill up.
Always try to pack more food and water than you think you may need; you don't want to exhaust yourself by running out of supplies when you're miles deep into a hike.
Remember, You're Outside!
Pack sunscreen and head for a shaded trail. Sun can zap your energy, so if you're in for a long day, try to find a trail with some protection.
Even if it's the dead of winter, the sun will find you. Wear protective clothing, apply sunscreen before your hike, and reapply often.
Be Aware of Your Environment
Southern California elicits images of beaches and surfing, but head just a little inland and you're facing cacti, rattlesnakes and more.
Heed trail warnings; if a sign warns about mountain lions or rattlesnakes, there is good reason.
There's no need to be scared or avoid long-distance hiking, just be aware of your surroundings. Watch your step and keep an eye out to be sure you don't encroach on any wildlife.
Admire plants and animals from a distance, following the mantra, "take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints."
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