5 Tips to Stay Safe While Hiking

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With the longer days and even more beautiful weather coming our way, hiking season is in full force!  Hiking is a great way to work up an appetite before brunch, or to stretch your legs while traveling.  A day hike can help you discover the wilder places in your hometown and can show you fun ways to enjoy your rest day between workouts.  Whether you hike solo or hit the trails with your friends, it is important to stay safe when you go hiking this summer.

Here are 5 tips for staying safe on your next hiking adventure!

Be prepared: Carry hiking essentials with you.  A solo hike or group hike require preparation.  Be sure to not only dress properly (think: hat, comfortable clothes, sturdy shoes), but also carry plenty of water and emergency supplies.  If you’re looking for a protein-packed snack, we have a great recipe here.

Plan ahead: While a spontaneous day hike sounds fantastic, it is a good idea to plan ahead.  If you are not familiar with hiking trails in your area, find a trustworthy website that has trails listed for you.  Look for information about parking, length of the trail, the elevation, and how long to expect to be out there.  If you are bringing your dog along for the adventure, make sure the trails are dog-friendly.  Don’t hesitate to call a ranger station or visitor station to inquire about trail conditions.

Know what dangers await: Taking your workout outside the gym means you need to take into account the potential dangers that lie ahead.  Do some research and read notice boards at the trail head to become familiar with the animals you may encounter, poisonous plants known to the area, and other hazards, such as sharp drop-offs and water crossings.  Consider hiking in pairs or a group, and avoid being distracted on the trail.

Stay on the trail: No Instagram photo is worth you putting yourself or others in danger!  In addition to physical harm to yourself, going off the trail may erode the trail and put the delicate environment at risk.  You may dislodge rocks that can hit hikers downhill, or startle animals who may react violently as you crash through their resting places.  The trail was created for your use and enjoyment, so stick to it!

Leave No Trace: Keep the trail safe for wildlife and preserved for future hikers by abiding by the Leave No Trace ethos.  There are 7 principles to Leave No Trace, including disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find, and respecting wildlife.  A common saying is “leave only footprints, take only photos” and another is “leave it better than you found it”.  Respecting the trail as you enjoy your hike helps ensure the trails will remain available for public use, and preserving the landscape helps keep these wild spaces wild even longer.

Kam Altar, Fabletics Master

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