In today’s busy world it is sometimes rare that we can truly stop and enjoy nature. Sure, we can visit the zoo or we can watch a nature show on TV, but it truly wouldn’t hurt to take the time and go hiking. You can enjoy beautiful scenery or observe animals and plants in their natural surroundings.
Young and old alike seem to enjoy being at one with nature. However, just as with any other activity, hiking safety is essential if you don’t want to get caught short. One of the first things you should do is plan ahead.
Everywhere you go…
…always check the weather (be nice if you could take it with you though). It’s not a good idea to schedule a day-long hike if the weather forecast is stating that there are thunderstorms moving in for the day.
I want you to think about something for a second. Do you keep any kind of first aid supplies at home? What about band aids or something for a headache or backache? You know what I mean, those things that you keep around just in case.
It’s not that you plan on using them at any specific time, but it provides some comfort knowing that you have them in case you do ever need them, right? Okay, that’s what this planning is all about. Hopefully you won’t need most of it, but if you do you will be very glad that you planned ahead and came prepared.
Hiking is almost always a safe and fun activity
Don’t let this article worry you – that is not what this is about – preparation just makes things go much smoother. A cardinal hiking rule is that you should never hike alone. There are several reasons for that.
Top 3 Reasons to NOT hike alone:
- If you get hurt you may need assistance
- Two heads are better than one – if you happen to get lost, confused, or anxious; a hiking partner may have the solution you need
- Simple hiking assistance: while hiking you are likely to come across steep inclines and a hiking partner will be able to assist in those situations.
Your hiking safety actually begins before you leave home. I have already mentioned checking the weather report, but additionally, it’s important to let at least a few people know where you are going and roughly when you expect to be back.
This obviously is in case there is some unforeseen mishap and you do not return as scheduled. It would suck to be stuck out in the woods while noone knows you’re there right?
By informing someone of your (planned) whereabouts, they will then know when and where to look for you. Proper hiking gear is equally important to your hiking safety as is keeping your clothes dry – be sure to pack extra clothing. Of course you will need to have plenty of water as well as food with you, high energy food is recommended.
Lightweight rain gear is essential
You will need warm clothing if you’ll be staying overnight. Keep in mind that temperatures are much lower at night then they are during the daytime. Dressing in layers is best, think of as tank tops, t-shirts, and then a flannel shirt and jacket.
Take along a first aid kit and matches in a water proof container. Don’t forget the all important items such as insect repellent, toilet paper, flashlight (plus extra batteries), and a cellphone. Even if you have no network coverage for your cell phone, you might use the light or the clock on the phone.
The last rule of hiking is the golden rule:
“Never take risks”
If you follow these suggestions and guidelines you are sure to have some great hiking adventures with many lasting memories. Don’t forget to bring your camera for those beautiful scenery shots!