by Alison Neumann

Hiking Safety


Hiking Safety

Planning time for pleasure and enjoyment can be difficult these days with the way the world has changed from the pandemic and the many restricted travel options.  One increasingly popular activity that is both easy on the pocketbook and good for your overall health is hiking.

The concept of going for a hike may sound simple; however, it is important to prepare yourself ahead of time for any issues that may arise.  Knowing what to do if bad weather pops up, planning where you will go, hiking with a buddy or letting someone know when to expect you back, bringing along proper footwear, clothing, food, and water, and having a simple first aid kit at hand are all important hiking safety measures.  If you plan and go out prepared, hiking can be a very rewarding activity both physically and mentally.

Hiking can get you to scenic places you may not otherwise experience.  You might be able to enjoy a beautiful sunrise or sunset in nature away from the rest of the world, see some unique wildlife, and experience the many health benefits that can come along with a walk in the woods.

It is important to prepare for the activity before you go and be familiar with the area where you plan to hike.  Unfortunately, many people get lost hiking every year, and that can be a very scary, if not fatal, experience for some.  Use a map and compass or phone app to know your location, but if relying on your phone it is extremely important to know if cell service will be available.  Reach out to local trail networks for another great resource to increase your knowledge of the area.  Know how long you plan to hike, in both distance and time, and plan to have extra food and water on hand in case of problems. Following these guidelines will help mitigate potential issues.

Important items to have on hand for any hike are water and food such as easy-to-pack granola bars or energy bars.  Also having rain gear and extra clothing, sunscreen and bug spray, and small first aid kits available in your vehicle or a backpack you carry will make them easy to grab if the need arises.  Dressing appropriately for a hike with proper footwear and knowing what kind of terrain you will encounter will help prevent minor injuries such as blisters or a twisted ankle.  It is also important to know your limits, keeping in mind how far you want to hike and how strenuously you want move your body.  Sometimes minor injuries in the backcountry can turn into major problems if you’re not prepared.

People who spend a lot of time hiking and in the wilderness can opt to take a Wilderness First Responder course.  This is typically an intensive class intended to provide medical training in wilderness situations, often sought after by Search and Rescue professionals, adventure guides, and other outdoor leaders, but it is very handy knowledge for anyone who spends a lot of time in the outdoors.

Hiking can sooth the soul and increase your fitness.  Preparing before you go will make your hikes safer and much more enjoyable.  Also, making sure you are properly insured will give you peace of mind when accidents do happen.  To find out if you have the proper insurance you need or for any insurance inquiries, contact your agent today.

References:

https://www.nps.gov/articles/hiking-safety.htm

https://americanhiking.org/resources/summer-safety-series/

https://www.wildsafe.org/courses/wilderness-medicine/wilderness-first-responder/

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