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For those who love hiking, the thrill of a new hike can be exhilarating. The breath-taking view from one top a summit is an amazing reward that draws hikers back to the trails. Even those with experience can find alternative routes and different possible paths to push themselves further.
Just because you have been hiking before does not mean there are not problems that can occur on your trip. It is best to stay aware of what can happen, just for your own safety preparation.
Check out these hiking safety tips that will guide you on your next safe journey.
1. Plan Your Course
A carefully designed path can assure you do not end up any place you’d rather not be. Sticking to the trails is generally the best way to avoid any danger. Maps are often available at places such as state parks. Always add extra time to your plan for resting and sightseeing.
If you are not hiking on a trail, research different hiking excursions that have already been done in the planned area. This can give you an idea of time frames and what challenges others may have faced. Using this information to make a solid plan with a time frame will aid in not becoming lost in an unknown place in the unfavorable dead of the night.
2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
At a moment’s notice, anything can appear in the wild. Look into what sort of wildlife is common in the area so you can learn how to avoid the more dangerous type. Plants can be dangerous too, being able to recognize the varieties you may encounter can save you from something like a poison ivy rash for the next week.
3. Check the Weather
Weather is many places is volatile, and planning a hike can be tricky. A week before it may say no rain, but days before the trip you’re stuck with thunderstorm warnings. Harsh weather conditions can make a hike exceedingly dangerous, even if it does not occur right when you are hiking. If it does begin to storm put off your hike for the safety of your group. Storms are known to hide paths and get hikers lost. If you’re already out, try to find a nearby familiar safe place to wait out the storm.
Also this important to clothing. There is a difference between what to wear when hiking hot temperatures versus cold ones.
4. Stick To The Path
Some things are better left unexplored- and especially so if you are not an experienced hiker. Climbing can be hazardous if the area has not been scoped out by those before. Loose dirt and rocks can cause you to lose footing, depending on the area, this can cause broken limbs or death with no help out in the wilderness.
5. Bring Proper Supplies
Every hiker will have their own personalized kit of gear with special devices they’ve brought to help them along. However, some supplies should be universal.
If a small injury occurs on the hike it is important to have band-aids and other wraps to protect the injury from dirt and bacteria.
A hat can protect you from the harshness of the sunbeams. This helps prevent sunburn as well as keeping you hydrated. Maps and compasses may seem out of style, but there are many places a smartphone does not get reception. Also, a map does not run out of power.
6. Bring Water!
Drinking water is vital for any outdoor activity, especially those that require physical exertion like hiking. Dehydration can occur if you do not properly hydrate yourself. Remember the work your body is doing and provide it the fuel it needs. Accompany your water with protein-rich snacks, like nuts to keep you going.
7. Plan Child Appropriate Trails
If you have young children, it is even more crucial to practice smart safety on hikes. This can include going over procedures with them at home and making sure the hike will not be too difficult for them to complete in full. Many parks that have hiking trails will rate their difficulty so hikers know what they’re in for. You will need to take several breaks, and may even want to add fun children hiking activities to keep the hike interesting for them.
8. Wear/Bring Layerable Clothing
If the hike is going throughout the day, temperatures will change. This is also true for variances in altitude. Even on a hot day bring along a light jacket, you’ll be thankful you did if the sun starts to go down while you’re out.
9. Know When to Turn Around
Keep track of how long you’ve been gone and how long it will take you to return. Sore muscles are not the only consequences pushing yourself too far can cause. You don’t to be scaling your way back down a hill in the dark. Running out of water can also be an issue. When people become tired or dehydrated it is easier for them to make mistakes such as falling or losing the trail.
Many signs of dangerous trails can be understood better when researched and this website can give an additional overview of important safe trail behavior.
10. Tell Someone Where You Are
If anything does get in your way from returning from your hike, assistance from friends and family can be crucial to helping park authorities ensure your safety. If someone knows where you are and when you should be back, if an unexpected injury happens, they can alert authorities to look for you. Not every situation is life and death but it’s always best to take precaution to prevent dangerous circumstances.
A Safe Sight-Seeing
Safety should be your prime goal throughout your trip. The sights are beautiful, but it’s hard to enjoy them while tumbling down an unforeseen slope. Hiking is a fun experience and can be rewarding in mind and in health. Even experienced hikers can brush up on signs of a dangerous trail and pay more attention to the weather. Use all of the steps we’ve laid out to make smart hiring decisions and stay safe during your journeys.
A millenial mom (of two boys) who has passion in makeup and motherhood in between.