A very popular outdoor activity, hiking involves walking in natural surroundings while reveling the mesmerizing nature. With its growing popularity, numerous hiking organizations have cropped up everywhere over the last decade or so. Along with the tremendous rise in the number of people taking to it, the number of accidents has also increased. Most of these accidents can be attributed to carelessness on the part of hikers, or improper planning, and therefore, one has to take his safety into consideration when opting to go hiking.
Hiking Safety Tips to Remember
Planning is the most important part of your hiking escapade. It's always better to have basic knowledge about the terrain of the region and weather conditions prevailing there. You can look for this information on the Internet or consult hiking enthusiasts who have been there before. It's important to choose the right time for the hike. You surely wouldn't want to end up in bad weather. While it's nearly impossible to predict what the weather has in store for us, we can always take necessary precautions and be safe on our part.
Basic study about the environment of the chosen place will tell you what all things you should and you shouldn't do. For instance, some berries are poisonous. Hence, though tempting, berries are best avoided. Same is the case with animals. Small, colorful insects found in the wilderness can be highly venomous. Hence, it's better to keep a safe distance from them. Basically, you should keep a safe distance from anything that you don't know much about.
Drinking water from a crystal clear mountain stream may make you feel like you are getting closer to the nature, but you need to know that this stream water can have some harmful bacteria. It is wise to carry water from your home. Keep some water purifier (such as chlorine) with you while you are backpacking. At times, you may be left with no option, but to drink stream water. In such a situation, these purifiers will come handy.
When outdoors, especially during overnight trips, fire is one of the most essential things needed. So always choose to carry a matchbox or lighter and, more importantly, be careful with it. Out in the wild, you can trigger a forest fire with a small match stick. So be careful while lighting bonfires or using fire torches.
Learn the basics of first aid and make sure to carry a first aid kit with you. Minor injuries are common during hiking, but these injuries shouldn't spoil your fun. Basics in first aid will arm you with skills required to overcome stress and deal with certain types of injuries. Your first aid kit should include bandages, anti-bacterial cream, disinfectant, etc. Information about the nearest hospital can be of great help in case of some serious injury.
Some people just grasp the basic knowledge about the environment and later, when they face a situation, they try to recollect what they had read. A better way is to carry field guides containing basic knowledge about the area, as well as flora and fauna found there. A field guide with a printed map of the area can also be of great help.
Small gadgets can turn out to be lifesaving in emergency situations. Some of the camping gear you ought to have in your backpack includes a flashlight, army knife, compass, and binoculars. Avoid taking unnecessary items such as video games, as these will just add weight to your backpack and exhaust you.
Watch where you step. Sometimes people are so engrossed in looking around that they fail to site the danger lurking right in front of them. This danger be from some venomous reptile to a dangerous crevice. A simple method is to keep an eye on the track and consider the path before heading forward.
Do not mess with nature, it would be better if you leave it as it was when you came. Unnecessary garbage spilling will do you no good. Also avoid bringing back the things you found while hiking; flowers, for instance. Some things are meant to be untouched as they are already in their right place. Even feeding animals in the wilderness is a strict no.
Hiking is a group activity, so it's better done in a group. Going for hiking alone increases your chances of getting lost or injured, and also makes you more vulnerable to the dangers of wilderness. Even when going with a group, make sure you tell someone about your planned outing and expected time of return.
No doubt hiking is full of enthusiasm, but you need to keep your enthusiasm under control so that you have ample fun. Some people―especially youngsters―being over-enthusiastic, start off very fast and get exhausted half way through. Hiking is not about reaching the destination, it's about enjoying the journey. You need to save energy and keep yourself hydrated. A steady pace and regular breaks will guarantee you a great adventure.
One should remember that over-enthusiasm and over-confidence can land you in some serious trouble. It's better to acknowledge the fact that no matter how smart or how prepared we are, mother nature will always be a step ahead of us.