How does that happen?
Hiking is a great exercise. It's good for your legs, lungs, attitude. You can experience beautiful scenery, meditate with the serenity of nature, and appreciate wilderness. You could follow trails or go "off the beaten path" to meander. Here's a few precautions to take if you plan to go hiking (or taking pictures off a steep mountain's edge!):
- Acknowledge there are risks. Common hazards include: injuries or illness, sudden bad weather, getting lost, sunburn and deydration, or frostbite and hypothermia. That doesn't include animal attacks, poison ivy, ticks, snakes and mosquitos. Even if you've been hiking for years and years, don't assume the next trip will be perfect too. YOU can't predict so you need to be alert.
- Make a written plan of your route, with an estimated return time, and leave it with someone you trust (or the nearby sheriff or park ranger). Check in with that person upon return. If you don't return by the expected time, s/he can call for help.
- Take a cell phone. A speedy call for help for you or someone else is essential. There might be parts where you'll lose your signal but wouldn't you rather be prepared?
- Wear sturdy "broken" boots that support your ankles, and good socks.
Equipment - pack a sturdy backpack with:
- dependable trail map
- bug/insect repellent
- light rain gear
- a $.99 super lightweight space blanket
- extra clothing if you're hiking in the mountains or if it is cold out
- extra socks - change when wet with sweat and foot powder to keep feet dry
- first aid kit
- food like protein bars, etc.
- Not required but a good idea would be: a camera, pepper spray, GPS equipment, foot blister medication, a radio for weather updates, and cell phones.
- For a night-time trek, take a tent, more food, toilet paper, and other overnight gear.
Unless you have practice and permission for building a fire, don't do it. The weather has been weird lately all over, and chances are there is a grave danger of fire spreading. Pack foods you don't need to heat, or a small self-contained cooking situation. And don't smoke!
Please be careful.