Planning ahead insures a fun and safe hike
A long day hike requires a few necessities to be safe and prepared for any emergencies that may arise. Without proper preparation before hand, a fun day in the outdoors can quickly take a turn for the worse. Below are some key essentials that all day hikers, from beginners to advanced, should follow.
- Plan your hike by obtaining trail maps, guidebooks, and trail distance, estimated time to complete the hike, and trail difficulty level.
- Keep trail maps in a waterproof or zip lock bag.
- Consider using a GPS that will work in remote areas.
- Check weather conditions beforehand. Don’t take chances with an inclement weather forecast.
- Consider the ability level of everyone in the group, when selecting a hike.
- Notify someone of you plans and when you expect to return. Call back upon return to let them know you have returned safely. In an emergency, this could help with rescue.
- Never hike alone. Always go with a friend or group.
- Keep your pack weight as light as possible.
- Bring plenty of water – 2 or 3 quarts per person.
- Dress in layers in anticipation of cooler temperatures in the mountains..
- Start early so you have plenty of time to enjoy your hike and rest along the way. Head back giving plenty of time to return before dark
- Hike only as fast as the slowest member of your group.
- Pace yourself. Conserve your energy.
- Stay on trails unless you have excellent navigational skills.
- Never approach or attempt to feed wild animals. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Watch and stay away from snakes, spiders and other critters. Pay attention to where you are walking, and what you are stepping over. Be watchful before sitting down.
- Go slowly through mud and water. Be careful with loose leaves and rubble on the trail. Stay away from steep cliffs and other drop off areas.
- Learn to identify and stay away from poisonous plants.
- Keep track of your progress on the map so that you know where you are at all times.
- Take turns leading and following trail markers. Share decisions.
- Pack high energy snacks such as granola, energy or fruit bars, trail mixes, fruit, or bagels.
- Don’t drink soda or alcohol when hiking as it will dehydrate you.
- Never drink water from a lake or stream as it may be polluted or contaminated.
- Bring an insect repellant for topical use just in case.
- Carry a whistle. Three short whistles is the universal call for assistance when someone is in trouble.
- Bring a small first aid kit that includes an assortment of bandages, wipes, and antibiotic ointment.
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