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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at WVU chapter.

So we have all seen those adorable pictures of our friends. You know, the one where she’s at the top of a mountain jumping in the air with her hands up. She’s probably wearing a cute hat, and Chacos. But you know what? That’s not what it’s all about. 

Pictures are great (and obviously necessary). But there are some things you need to know before you can call yourself a master of the wild… Or the local state park. 


1. Don’t try to look cute

After about 10 minutes in that thick, hair frizzing forest-air you’re going to have completely undone any prior primping that morning. If you really want to enjoy the day, you’re gonna wanna invest in some light weight active clothes and a nice hat. 


2. Look at the weather!

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is going out without being prepared for rain, or intense heat. A perfect day can turn into a muddy monsoon really quick if you’re not paying attention. If you must go out on a day that it’s going to rain, make sure you’ve got a good pair of water proof boots and of course, a rain jacket. On the other hand, dehydration can really do some damage. No matter the temperature, ALWAYS make sure you have plenty of water. Your body will thank you. 


3. Wear the right shoes

No, hiking boots are not cute… or stylish… or visibly appealing in the least bit. BUT a good pair of hiking boots can change your life. Seriously. Challenging hikes become a breeze. Streams, puddles, roots and loose dirt have nothing on you once you’ve got boots on. It will take some time to get used to them, but if you really want to love the outdoors you’ll get over it. 


4. Bring the right people

Not everyone was made for nature. Lets face it, sometimes the sun and fresh air isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some people just can’t get over the dirt and the bugs and you know what? That’s okay! I promise that there is at least one friend who likes to be amongst nature for every one friend that would rather die than go for a hike. Just make sure you ask them what they like before dragging them onto the side of a mountain… Because remember, you have to get down. 


5. Let nature in 

You’re going to get frustrated, disappointed, and maybe even downright mad at the earth sometimes. The first time you fall into a stream, or are targeted by an angry bee, you’ll probably want to head right back to the car and burn those ugly boots you just bought. But please, DON’T. The outdoors are a magical place. Untouched, natural beauty is getting harder and harder to find. So instead of throwing in the towel, spend a little more time in the trees. You’ll start to notice soon enough how amazing it is to be a part of such a beautiful world, you just have to keep on hiking. 


If you ever want to go hiking, but don’t know where just go to https://www.nationalparks.org where you can find tons of parks and trails along with information that will help you plan the perfect outdoorsy day. 

Just a Freshman trying to survive
Hi ladies and gents, my name is Mel, Melanie if you're feelin' fancy. I'm a senior studying advertising, political science and fashion at West Virginia University. In addition to my studies, I am the Campus Correspondent for the WVU HC Chapter! You can hear me on the radio at U92 FM reporting the news and hosting morning shows. If I'm not there, I'm most likely at the local Panera eating my body weight in broccoli cheddar soup or writing about the daily, awkward encounters I experience. I represenative of the college of media as an ambassador and the prez of the magazine club. Oversized sweatshirts and jean on jean are my aesthetics. Lover, not a fighter unless you tell me Joe Jonas wasn't the best Jonas. Laters, baby.