Approaching a Hill

When you approach a hill, you need to decide if it is one of those hills that is just too steep to climb, descend, or cross. Steepness can be hard to judge. On a very small hill, for example, there may be a smooth, constant incline with only a small change in elevation where you can easily see all the way to the top. On a large hill, the incline may get steeper as you near the top, but you may not see this because the crest of the hill is hidden by bushes, grass, or shrubs.

Here are some other things to consider as you approach a hill.

• Is there a constant incline, or does the hill get sharply steeper in places?
• Is there good traction on the hillside, or will the surface cause tire slipping?
• Is there a straight path up or down the hill so you will not have to make turning maneuvers?
• Are there obstructions on the hill that can block your path, such as boulders, trees, logs, or ruts?
• What is beyond the hill? Is there a cliff, an embankment, a drop-off, a fence? Get out and walk the hill if you do not know. It is the smart way to find out.
• Is the hill simply too rough? Steep hills often have ruts, gullies, troughs, and exposed rocks because they are more susceptible to the effects of erosion.

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