HIKE, SIGHTS AND SAFETY: A GUIDE TO STAYING SAFE
Everyone knows that travelling is all about the sights and scenes from your chosen veranda but hikers know that the best views are those off paths trodden down with adventure and take you on a journey to be rewarded with a beautiful view. Even the most novice of hiker would find it hard to stop 4 hours into a trek with a reward right around the corner.
While the journey is important we shouldn’t overlook our own safety, you could never predict what might happen, and nature is unpredictable after all. It pays to be prepared.
Take a look at our top tips to keep safe below.
1. Have a plan.
Often people like to walk care-free outside their comfort zone but we always advise to create an itinerary of your trip, a route featuring notable landmarks and a general time for duration and completion. Share your itinerary before starting off. This allows others to find you if the time of action did come.
2. Pair up.
The great outdoors can be a great social venue for walking and hiking groups. Not only can you make some great memories on the way to your destination but you can stay safe while doing so! Remove the risk of being stranded, lost or injured without assistance by inviting a friend or group of friends on your trip.
Decide amongst your group which route would be most suitable. From incline, length, and territory for the walk (even the weather for participation). Everyone has their limits and a sprained ankle or twisted knee can affect how far you’re willing to go. Take a look through local guides, ask a specialist from the area (tour guide, visitor information, park rangers). Don’t forget to take a satellite view too! Google maps is for more than fuelling road rage in rush hour!
4. Look to the skies.
The weather is a key aspect to the enjoyment of many hikes world-wide. You don’t want to climb an incline only to find out the vistas have been replaced with soot grey clouds of fog. Alongside this, heavy wind and rain could be treacherous conditions for a lengthy narrow hillside path.
5. Get kitted out.
The hiking boot is as important as the bike to a rider. Ensuring your feet are protected and comfortable will enable you to keep going without those nasty pulls, twists or pains. Not to mention the grip needed across certain terrains. Pair up with the correct sock and you’ve got a winning combo, there’s plenty to choose from; Wool, Synthetics or Merino (which will help with wicking the moisture to avoid blistering.
6. First Aid essentials.
Start with the basics, blister plasters, wraps, antiseptic wipes etc and add essentials for your trip! Are you heading through tall green? Bug spray! Wide open areas with no shade? Sun cream! The options are endless; just keep your environment in mind. Finish off your kit with any medication and personal equipment that applies to you. Oh and don’t forget some spare water!
7. Stay on the trail.
National governing bodies for natural areas always state you should stay on the trail! Not only keeping you safe but also preserving the surrounding areas, wildlife and making you incredibly easy to find in an emergency!
Pack a snack, whether that’s bars, gels or juices. Keep your bodies energy at an appropriate level for your activity to make sure you don’t suffer from fatigue and can make it back okay. Further adding to this, take a pit-stop break to rest and breathe in the fresh air, that 10 minute stop off can make or break how far you can push yourself!
9. On the grid.
For plenty of us the trip out is the respite from mobile devices and screens we need but don’t underestimate the power of keeping a phone handy. Your mobile device can help locate you much faster than a description of certain plant species or an oddly shaped rock. The keenest of hikers are now adopting the What3Words application which provides words that lead to specific areas, this has proven faster than the longitude / latitude method and leaves less room for error. So don’t forget that phone battery pack!
10. Trail (trial) and error.
Under experienced or trying something new with an upcoming hike? Get yourself to a local trail and have a test run. Prepare yourself for the longer hikes or the weight of your usual daily carry. Preparation will stop you going into your big hike blind, you’ll know how much weight you’re able to comfortably carry and figure out if you really need that 1kg of biscuits in your bag. Start small and slowly adapt yourself to find your comfort zone.