Hiking Preparation and Precautions Post 3

Fall

Similar precautions given for spring hiking relate to fall hiking as well. Weather changes from warm to cold and brings sudden events such as heavy rain or even snow. Fog might occur, causing a loss of direction and orientation. In that case, a compass and detailed map are needed as well as constant awareness of your surroundings. Again, layered clothing is important for comfort and body temperature regulation. Water-resistant boots are always desirable, but even more in spring and fall.

Insects might be dwindling, but aren’t gone entirely; the same precautions mentioned for summer apply. Also, animals are busy preparing for winter and should be given wide latitude when nearing their activities. Because colored leaves are abundant, keep in mind that under those leaves a deadly snake could be in your path. Foliage on the ground hides other dangers that might be readily apparent during other seasons, such as moss-laden rocks that become dangerously slippery with added moisture.

Anytime

While each season has its particular events, you should always take certain precautions when hiking.

Footwear is the primary concern. Heavy high-top, water-resistant boots are the best choice for the serious hiker, or even the not-so-serious hiker. Not only will they provide comfort and protection to the feet, but they will also brace the ankles against twists and other accidental events. They resist puncture and guard against anything falling on them that may cause injury to the upper part of the foot or ankle.

As stated above, layered clothing carries its own benefits and should always be considered before any length of hike, especially in the mountains.

A first-aid kit should be carried even if it is minimal, as well as an emergency kit containing something to signal distress. I recommend always hiking with a partner if possible, especially if it is lengthy, overnight or into unknown territory.

Water is paramount. You can go for days without food, but not so long without water, especially in hot, arid regions.

Hiking has always been a pleasant, enjoyable experience for me and I’ve had few problems over the years. Preparation and knowledge are key factors when venturing out into Nature. We are strangers exploring unknown territory and out of our element when hiking into the forest or across a desert. Unlike our animal friends, who live there everyday, we don’t know exactly what to expect. Being aware of the conditions and considering the fact we are strangers in unknown territory could mean the difference between an enjoyable hike and a fatal one.