Hiking in a Wild Area
The tough thing about venturing into a wilderness is that there are no convenience stores handy, if you forget something critical. Thus, planning and making lists are critical.
The First 5 Tips
Cell Phones: Although you should make sure that your phone is fully charged & bring along a spare, be aware that getting a signal (to use your phone) is spotty, at best.
The further you are aware from a major highway or urban center, the less likely your cell phone will work.
Safety Through Communication: Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to return.
“Wilderness” implies things that are unknown. It is foolhearty to assume that nothing can happen while you are away from your support system.
Personal Items: Even if you are hiking in winter, take sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. If you are wondering why you might need them year-round, refer to yesterday’s article, ‘How Can You Help Someone Suffering from Snowblindness?’
Protect Your Feet: You won’t get very far if you don’t take care of your transportation system – your feet! Take extra socks and a pair of waterproof shoes.
It’s better to use 2 thin pair of socks, not 1 thick pair. Layering your clothing is a smart way to conserve heat, yet release perspiration. This method prepares you for whatever weather arrives.
Packing: Place the heaviest items you are carrying in the middle of the backpack, close to your back. This balances the load.
The Second 5 Tips
Basic Equipment: Hikers need a compass and a pocketknife.
Getting Around: A map of the unknown territory where you will hike is important. If you have a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver, now’s a great time to use it.
Fire Supplies: You never know when you will need a fire. Be sure to bring a lighter and/or waterproof matches & lint from your clothes dryer.
Keep Everything Safe: Zippered plastic bags are great for hikers. They protect items from water, damp and other mishaps.
Water: Either be ready to bring your own water or bring a method of purification (iodine tablets, a filtering system, etc.).
I’m aware a hiker needs food, clothing and other necessities. These items are better covered in a more comprehensive list.
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