How to ensure safety while hiking in the mountains
Somewhere on this earth, its spring time and somewhere, summer is coming to an end and winter is knocking on the door. You know what these 2 statements mean for hikers? This weather transition time brings uncertainty for hikers. If you are not an experienced hiker, preparation for a hike can confuse anyone. In other words, preparation is the key to a safety oriented trip to mountains.
Spectacular scenery, fresh mountain air and a variety of pristine lakes and of course the mountains themselves give the perfect backdrop for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy wonderful activity of hiking.
Thousands of people hike and climb around the world each year. You should use the information provided here as a guide. Your hiking experience in the mountains would be most enjoyable if you took the time to fully plan your trip.
If it is a day trip, you don’t have to worry about accommodation. However, if you are going out of hometown, it is advisable to have pre-arranged accommodation or lodging before your arrival. It is extremely important for you to plan your mountains route properly. Very important to carry a lot of water.
When you are heading out for the day, remember to dress in layered clothing, the variations in mountain weather can get extreme and your hiking trip can become a bad experience, simply because you were not properly dressed.
Know where you are going or hire one of the guides (if available) and be sure to carry a camera. Any mountain in the world will have plenty of opportunities for some beautiful pictures of the surrounding scenery.
Hiking and walking tips
Hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy all that a mountain have to offer. For some, it is a physical challenge, for others, an adventure and escapes to nature. The following are tips on what one can consider some essential information to make your next trip enjoyable.
- Take proper gear which includes protection from weather any time of year, a first-aid kit with blister treatments and proper maps.
- Wear comfortable shoes or boots and outdoor socks to protect your feet.
- If you are planning on camping (in addition to hiking) make sure to test your gear before heading out on your trip.
- Always let a friend or family member know where you are going and when you plan on returning? Authorities will not start a search unless someone reports you are missing.
- Know your limitations. An average hiker travels 3 – 4 kilometers an hour. If the trail is steep you can figure out an extra hour for every 300 meters of elevation gain. Remember that your gear, young children or bad weather may really slow your travel time. Allow yourself ample time to reach your destination and return.
- Carry water, streams, and lakes may have bacteria making the water unsafe for drinking unless boiled, chemically treated or filtered. If you develop symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps or bloating, go see a physician.
Animals on mountains
Depending on which mountain you are trying to conquer, wild animals will always be a possibility. Make sure to research the area before your expedition.
Bears are dangerous, never approach or feed them. NEVER! If you do meet a Bear, stay calm and slowly, quietly leave the area. Do not run or scream, as this behavior will provoke a chase. Bears can run about 55 KM per hour. Which means you can’t outrun them.
Cougars are extremely dangerous. If you come across one, absolutely I repeat ABSOLUTELY DON’T RUN. Talk calmly to the group and do not 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 is imminent, act aggressively! Unlike bears, Cougars get frightened by yelling or being struck by rocks or big sticks.
Other wild animals are dangerous too same as bears and cougars. Due to your own safety, don’t hike alone, make noise, avoid hiking in early morning or dusk, never enter a closed trail, observe all animals from a distance, consider carrying pepper spray.
Hiking in the mountains will be a good experience for you if you have the proper equipment. Here are a few suggestions I am offering based on my experience.
- Clothing – Cut-off pants, gloves, hat, windbreaker, warm jacket, pants, rainwear, long and short sleeves shirts, comfortable hiking footwear and cotton or wool socks.
- First Aid – (as a minimum) Antiseptic, ace bandage, band-aids, burn ointment, chap stick, over the counter painkillers, your own prescription medication, sunscreen lotion and water.
- Additional items – Compass, waterproof matches or lighter, blanket, flashlight with batteries, map, pocket knife, sunglasses, toilet paper, wipes, hand sanitizer and towels.
- Personal Safety equipment – Your safety is in your own hands. Make sure to carry bug repellent, signal kits, emergency horn and animal attack deterrent kits (depending on your destination).
A lot of tourists do not pay attention to sun protection not realizing it can act as one of your best friends when you are outdoors. You can prepare to protect yourself from animals at the same time don’t forget to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet rays. Here are some suggestions to help make your day more enjoyable.
- UV radiation of the sun will burn you, is stronger at higher elevations and are most intense in snow and water environments. This transition of weather from summer to fall/winter is the best time to create this problem for you when you are on mountains. Wear protective hats and other coverings while in the sun.
- At the time of buying sunscreen lotion look for an SPF (sun protection factor) rating on the package.
- SPF 2 to 15 is minimal, moderate, extra protection and greatest protection variety.
- SPF 15 or greater will give you ultra protection from sunburn. If the weather will be too hot then make sure to use this category. However, make sure to check weather too because you need to know what will be the temperature?
If you become lost, try to stay calm, seek shelter and begin to ration whatever supplies you have. Absolutely do not try to find your way back unless necessary. This may actually create more problems than solutions if any search efforts that are ongoing.
Anyone would like to have a good outing. When you try to have best of times, you need a lot of preparation. You should fully prepare for any situation and stay positive if things go sideways. Absolutely don’t panic because it will add to problems instead of bringing solutions to you.