5 myths about hiking that really aren't true

5 myths about hiking that really aren't true

We know you've heard a lot about mountains, hiking and wandering. In fact, amidst the whispering of leaves, the chirping of birds, and the sounds of the wilderness, one occasionally hears some of the wise men who have been everywhere and seen everything. Some of these tales are literally passed down from generation to generation and have become mountain folklore.

Since we at ZAJO want to be a trusted companion for your adventures, in this article we will separate the wheat from the chaff, fact from fiction, or to put it bluntly - bullshit from reality.

These are legendary myths that you've probably heard before, but which are pretty far from the truth.

Myth #1: Bears can smell menstruation and are attracted to it

Oh come on. Seriously? This myth is perhaps as old as the mountains themselves. And totally nonsensical. Yes, bears have an excellent sense of smell, but they certainly don't use it to hunt menstruating women in the mountains. They're much more interested in the snack in your pack. So ladies, no worries. Wander, explore, and don't worry any more than you have to. Just be sure to pack your snack really well.

Myth #2: Mountains are for fit people

Some people pretend that in order to enjoy the mountains one needs to be an Olympic athlete.

Don't be silly.

Mountains really are for everyone, whether you're an exercise fanatic or a couch potato. Wherever you are on that spectrum, there are almost endless opportunities out there for interesting, spectacular hikes.

If you're lacking in fitness, start with something easier, don't overdo it with the elevation gain, and gradually work your way up to bigger and harder challenges. The mountains really aren't going anywhere.

Myth #3: If you get bitten by a snake, you need to suck the venom out of the wound

Yes, that classic myth about sucking the venom out of a wound. This myth belongs in a movie at most, it's certainly not the way to save your life. In fact, sucking out the poison will only do more harm than good.

If you have been bitten by a snake, don't move the affected body part unnecessarily, keep it still and call for medical help. Leave the dramatic scenes and heroic efforts to the silver screen.

Myth #4: Drinking your own urine is the way to survive

We're looking at you, Bear Grylls.

It may sound fascinating on TV, but drinking your own urine, specially if you're dehydrated, is nonsense. Such urine contains a minimum of water and a maximum of waste substances, so drinking it can lead to kidney failure.

Concentrate instead on finding a water source as soon as possible and, if you have adequate equipment, purify the water from that source.

You need water, not to spin your own waste inside you.

Myth #5: Moss grows on the north side of trees

Aspiring navigators, listen up. Relying on moss for orientation can only lead to you circling around. Moss loves moisture and shade. And do you know which sides of the trees might have moisture and shade? The northern one. But also the southern, western and eastern.

Rely on the map and the compass, leave the moss to the botanists.


These are a few myths you can really leave at home on your next adventure. Just pack your gear, a smile and a good mood. They'll take you much further.

See you out there, folks!

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