For most people who just love to go outdoors, there’s nothing more satisfying than a great hike with a beautiful view of nature and the feel of fresh air. Besides these, one thing they love about going on a hike is the peace and quiet it gives. With a lot of stress from life itself, it’s no surprise that they get excited at the thought of hiking.
But as exciting as it seems, it is also no secret that it comes with physical demands and some real dangers – that is if one is not too careful. Aside from hikers, though, those who manage the hiking area also need to know a thing or two to offer their visitors an excellent mountain hiking experience they will truly cherish.
With that said, it is ultimately essential to pack the bags with the necessary equipment and a lot more basic hiking knowledge to make it safer for everyone. This guide can help you with that. So read on to get started!
Keeping up with the Signs
One of the most well-known risks and hazards of hiking is the possibility of the hiker being lost. That is why hiking trails need to be signposted, so people do not easily lose their way. Because most areas are places of natural beauty, with lots of trees and probably other dangerous wildlife beings like snakes, posting danger signs should also be part of the priority list.
Warning hikers of the unusual trail conditions and possible dangers in a specific site is important to allow them to plan and prepare for what’s awaiting them. With such signages, you can ensure that visitors can practice safe activities and be made aware of a few but important prohibitory actions to avoid risks to health and safety.
Consider the Group
Another thing to consider is the overall fitness, ability, and experience of the group. Of course, most people would love to go on a hike, but not everyone is fit to do so. It will help if you know these things to guide the group properly according to the level of their experience and conditions.
You can ask questions such as: have they experienced hiking before? What is their average pace (25 km per day, for example), or how much time does it take to reach their destination if they have already done hiking? And, how are they feeling today? Knowing these is important to promote safe hiking.
Think About the Environmental Impact
Have you heard of the Leave No Trace Policy? If you are so into the world of hiking, you probably have. Most hikers follow this policy to minimize their environmental impact by avoiding actions like cutting tree branches, throwing trash everywhere, and even instructing hikers to pack equipment with multiple uses as much as possible.
Part of being safe is to keep your surroundings safe, too. By keeping this policy in check, you not only protect yourself from the dangers that wildlife and nature may bring, but you also keep nature itself from harm’s way.
Be a Responsible Hiker
People who manage the hiking area sure do have the responsibility of keeping the site safe by posting signs, providing knowledgeable and competent operators, and the likes. On the other hand, safe hiking will still come down to being a responsible hiker. There are a lot of safety precautions for hikers out there, and these include but are not limited to:
Packing the Essential Equipment
You should never hike without packing the necessary tools you will need as you go along your journey to the mountains. These will be the key to your ‘survival’ that will help minimize the dangers you might encounter, such as getting lost, dehydration, ankle sprains, or in worst-case scenarios, animal attacks.
Make sure to take good hiking footwear, clothing appropriate for the weather, trail map, compass, food, water, basic medical kit, medicines you usually take, and a rechargeable LED pocket flashlight with you. Of course, you can add a few other things like a sleeping bag, tent, and others that you find necessary, especially if you plan to have an overnight hike.
Hiking With a “Buddy” or a Group
“It takes two to tango” is definitely applicable when you go on hiking. In fact, it is best if you hike with four or five people. This is to ensure everyone’s safety when unexpected things happen. For example, someone might have sprained his ankle along the way, so if there are a lot of you in the group, you can quickly respond to such a medical emergency.
Also, it can help you avoid the risk of being lost, especially if you want to venture deep into the woods. If you do prefer to go on a hike alone, make sure that you inform someone where you are headed and when you are expected to be back.
Ultimately, the most critical factor to being safe while on a hike is by checking yourself. This simply means that you are well aware of your physical state, abilities, and medical conditions. Hiking is one way to get physically fit and active but remember that it comes with risks, too. Thus, it is crucial that you monitor your health and never underestimate the mountain.
The key to safe hiking is knowledge. There are still many things to remember when you go on a hike, but the ones you have read in this article can already serve as your starting point. If you plan to go on one, make sure that you enjoy the scenery while keeping your safety a top priority.