Walking in the woods is a popular activity that is great for getting exercise and enjoying nature. Many people find that it can help them clear their head and relax. However, it is important to be prepared when walking in the woods. This includes making sure that you have water, food, and first aid supplies with you. It is also a good idea to bring a cell phone with you in case of an emergency.
Each year, the DEC Forest Rangers search for hundreds of lost and stranded hikers. Many of these people could have avoided this potentially life-threatening situation if they had been properly prepared for the wilderness. Learn how to use a topographic map, compass, and GPS unit before you venture into the woods, and always carry these tools. Also, be aware of the weather conditions in your area and plan accordingly.
One of the most common ways to estimate distance is to count your steps. This can be difficult at first, but it becomes easier with practice. You can also try using visual estimates, which are based on your own experience walking between two points. For example, if you're trying to keep a safe distance from wildlife, such as a bear or mountain goat, you can use your past on-foot experiences to gauge how far to stay away from them.
Some people prefer to use an odometer, which is a mechanical device that clicks off each yard or meter of distance as you walk. However, these are not always practical for everyday use and can be inaccurate due to a number of factors, including the type of terrain and your own speed. You can also use an online map to track your progress, such as Google Earth's "path" option.