A pair of hikers are discovering the beauty of the mountain nature
Going out hiking is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature, decompress, and get some exercise. However, when you are out on the trail, there are lots of potentially dangerous situations in which you could find yourself. Do you know what to do if you are miles from the nearest city and encounter a predator, get bit by a snake, begin to experience the symptoms of heat exhaustion, or sprain your ankle?
Source: Feelings media/ Shutterstock.com
There are a lot of things that can go wrong while out in nature. Therefore, if you have a medical condition or allergy, it is critical to wear a medical alert necklace. But beyond that, you need to be prepared to deal with the unexpected.
Here are some strategies that can help you deal with the unforeseen while out hiking.
Know Your Trail and Plan Ahead
Before hitting the trail, it is smart to familiarize yourself with the path on which you are about to embark. This means that you should review a trail map and check trail conditions. Additionally, it is critical to check weather reports prior to your hike. Weather can be quite unpredictable during certain seasons so bringing along clothing and gear for different scenarios is a wise decision as well. You can also download a runner tracking app to help plan and potentially notify your family members of your route.
Hiking is a great form of exercise all on its own. However, this means that it can be physically demanding. If you aren’t prepared for this, problems could arise.
Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that you are in the proper physical condition for the hike. If you aren’t, then you need to take some time to up your athleticism. Fortunately, there are some training exercises for hiking that can help get you in the right shape for the adventure.
In particular, building agility, flexibility, and core strength will be extremely helpful while out on your hike and help prevent potential injuries.
Depending on the difficulty of the trail or the weather conditions, hiking can be just as hard on your mind as it is on your body. Therefore, cultivating a general attitude of resilience can be incredibly useful while hiking, particularly if the unexpected should arise.
As far as facing obstacles is concerned, many practice the art and philosophy of Stoicism to learn how to deal with “impediments to action,” as Marcus Aurelius would say.
Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car
No matter if you are going hiking or not, keeping an emergency kit in your car is a good idea. Additionally, it is easy to find relatively affordable pre-packed kits online, so there is no excuse not to have one handy.
Emergency vehicle kits should include things like jumper cables, road flares, blankets, flashlights and lighters, duct tape, water, non-perishable food, a whistle, and additional gear as you see fit.
However, it is also critical to carry the right gear on your person.
Always Bring the Essentials
Whenever you hit the trail, there is a list of items that you should always have with you in your bag. In particular, there are 10 essentials that most experienced hikers are likely familiar with, including:
- Navigational tools (maps and compass or GPS)
- Insulating layers of clothing
- A first aid kit
- A light source such as a flashlight or headlamp
- Fire supplies
- Multitool or high-quality knife
- Emergency shelter
- More food and water than you think is necessary
- Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen)
That said, it is also wise to bring along a few extras like duct tape, hand and foot warmers, and extra Ziploc bags. Additionally, if you have any sort of medical condition, you can help cut down on bulk by picking up an Apple Watch bracelet ID.
Let Others Know Where You Are Going
Should anything happen to you that you can’t deal with while you are out hiking, it is critical that other people know where to look for you if you don’t return as expected.
Therefore, it is important to let friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and anyone else know when and where you plan to go hiking, as well as when you expect to be back.
Additionally, it is also wise to post your plans on social media, including the aforementioned details.
Sign the Roster at the Trailhead
Many hiking trails have a roster posted at the trailhead that will let you fill in your name, address, phone number, planned route, number of people in your party, and other pertinent details.
Always be sure to sign in at these locations as they provide critical details for rescue teams should anything happen to you that requires such a group to be sent out looking for you.
A bottle is filled with water and supplements
Avoiding dehydration is critical during any sort of physical activity. However, it is especially important during a hike, as you may not have a clean source of water for miles.
Therefore, it is very important to ensure that you not only hydrate before your hike but take frequent water breaks during it as well. Remember, going by thirst is a bad way to gauge hydration, so be sure to drink up often — even if you are not thirsty.
Expecting the Unexpected
Nature has always had a knack for throwing people’s curveballs. Therefore, it is essential that you prepare for the unexpected by following the tips listed above. Doing so could mean the difference between getting home from your next hike safely or not.