Safety in the mountains
Wouldn’t you agree, whatever we do, we try to ensure our safety? At least I do. Whether I am driving, whether I am eating or almost doing anything, safety is a top priority. Since the summer has begun, it has also started the hiking season for us. This means a visit to the mountains. Right? Who doesn’t want to visit the mountains when it’s good weather? Especially, when the weather is good and days are long.
Therefore, we are going to share with you some of the tested and tried and (obviously) trusted tips for your next trip to the mountains. Just so you know, every summer I take at least 6 trips to the mountains in Banff and area. I am not a pro but I do have experience in conquering the mountains.
Thousands of people go to the mountains each year. Their common goals vary. Some for outdoor fun, some for just fun, some for serious hikes, some for good weather and some for reasons not listed here. Whatever your reason is, I leave it up to you because it is important and only applies to you. The information provided here is intended only to be used as a guide. Your hiking experience in the world would be most enjoyable if you take the time to plan your trip.
Your plan will fail if you fail to plan. So plan for success.
Due to the number of hikers and visitors to the mountains each year, it is advisable to have pre-arranged accommodation or lodging prior to your arrival.
When you are heading out for the day, remember to dress in layered clothing. Because the weather can change in mountains so quickly, that it can cause troubles if not properly prepared. These weather variations could be so extreme that your trip may become a disaster in no time (just because you are not dressed properly).
Know in advance if you are going to hire a guide and ensure you have a camera as your buddy to take photos.
Hiking and walking tips
Hiking is the best way to enjoy mountains anywhere in the world. For some, it is a physical challenge and for others, an adventure and escape to nature. The following are tips on what you can consider some essential information for anyone who enjoys hiking (or don’t).
My favorite one first
Make sure someone knows where you are going? . This is extremely important. When we go to mountains, we tell someone. Once we complete our hike and out of mountains, we call them to inform them that we are out of no cell coverage area. This ensures our safety check at the end of the hike.
Remember our post about travel mistakes? We hope you are not making any of these mistakes.
Hiking safety in the mountains…….Use common sense
Here are some common sense guidelines for hiking in the mountains:
- Carry water. Streams and lakes may carry unsafe water for drinking unless boiled, chemically treated or filtered. If you develop symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps or bloating, see a physician.
- Take proper gear which includes (but not limited to) a first aid kit with blister treatments and appropriate maps.
- Wear comfortable shoes or boots and outdoor socks to protect your feet.
- Like we mentioned earlier, let someone know your whereabouts. Authorities will not start a search unless you are reported missing.
- If you are planning on camping make sure to test your gear before leaving the home.
- Do you know how long can you walk? An average hiker travels 3 to 4 KM an hour. If the trail is steep, you can figure on an additional hour for every 300 meters of elevation gain. Remember the gear or even the kids or bad weather may really slow your travel time. Allow yourself ample time to reach your destination and return.
Think about wildlife too
- Bears: all bears are dangerous. Never approach or feed them, NEVER!! If you do encounter a bear, stay calm and slowly, quietly leave the area. Don’t run or scream, this behavior may provoke a chase. Bears can run about 55 KM per hour. If you see an animal carcass while hiking, walk slowly and alertly away from it.
- Cougars: If you see a cougar, DO NOT RUN. Talk calmly and don’t make an eye contact with the animal, stand tall and back away slowly. Pick up small children and attempt to appear as large as possible. If an attack seems imminent, act aggressively!! Unlike Bears, Cougars may be frightened off by yelling or being struck by rocks or big sticks.
- Other animals such as Deer and Elk can also be dangerous. Don’t hike alone, make noise and avoid hiking in early morning or dusk, never enter a closed tail, observe all animals from a distance, consider carrying pepper spray.
Hiking in the mountains is fun if you have the proper equipment. Here are some suggestions to help you get off on the right foot:
- CLOTHING: cut off pants, gloves, hat, windbreaker, warm jacket, pants, rainwear, long & short sleeve shirts, comfortable hiking footwear, and cotton or wool socks.
- FIRST AID (minimum): Antiseptic, ace bandage, band-aids, burn ointment, chap stick, foot (blister) pads/powder, gauze compresses, salt tablets, sharp knife, sunscreen lotion etc.
- Personal safety products such as bear attack deterrent, dog repellent, critter getter, bear safety kits, signal launchers and signal kits.
- ADDITIONAL ITEMS: Compass, a day pack with (2 liters of water), waterproof matches, survival blanket, flashlight/extra batteries, area maps, paper/pencil, pocket knife, sewing kit, sunglasses, toilet paper (in plastic packets) and wet towels.
- Any other important item depending upon your or your companions requirements.
Sun Protection in mountains
I love the sun. And I think, most of us love the sun. Most likely, all of us know the sun can create problems on a sunny day. Which means you have to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet rays. Here are some suggestions to help you make your trip to the mountains more enjoyable.
- Keep in mind that the ultraviolet radiation of the sun which will burn you is stronger at higher elevations. It is most intense in snow and water environments. Wear protective hats and other covering when in the sun. A natural suntan which has been obtained slowly helps protect you from sunburn.
- When you buy a commercial sunscreen product look for an SPF (sun protection factor) rating on the package.
- SPF 2 to 4 – Minimal protection for people who rarely burn and tan easily and deeply.
- SPF 4 to 6 – Moderate protection for people who tan well with minimal burn.
- SPF 6 to 8 – Extra protection for people who burn moderately and tan gradually.
- SPF 8 to 15 – Maximum protection from sunburning for people who always burn easily and tan minimally.
- SPF 15 + Ultra protection from sunburn, offers the most protection which permits no sun tanning for people who burn easily and never tan.
If you become lost, try and remain calm, seek out shelter and begin to ration whatever supplies you have. Don’t make an attempt to find your way back unless absolutely necessary. This may actually hinder any search efforts you that may be ongoing. We want you to enjoy the mountains and remain safe. If yo have any of your tips and suggestions, make sure to share with us so that our readers can enjoy their next trip to the mountains.
From all of us at www.TravelFolio.net, happy hiking, be safe and be good.