Summer season has officially commenced, and with it stirs the desire to escape the confines of the indoors and to go commune with Mother Nature. The health benefits and beauty of The Great Outdoors, combined with hiking, entice the masses-from beginners to more advanced mountaineers-whether they venture out as locally as the hillside behind their houses or they travel further away for a more monumental experience like a Grand Canyon tour. However, before lacing up those bulky hiking boots, take precaution when heading out to any trail, since weather, hydration, elevation, and navigation can all become a threat if not considered and planned for carefully beforehand.
With the threat of severe heat, wear loose and lightweight clothing, use a hat, and apply plenty of sunscreen before taking off for your outdoor journey. Also, ensure you carry along:
- A way to replenish electrolytes
- Extra clothing
- Sunscreen for re-application
- GPS, map, or compass
Pay attention to the weather forecasts for the day, and educate yourself on the trail and its possible elevation levels, as well as about the diverse wildlife you may encounter along the way.
With most areas reaching scorching hot temperatures in the summer, the morning hours before 10 a.m. remain ideal for hiking conditions, since the thermometer will climb 20-25 degrees as the day progresses. Yes, waking up early can present some difficulty, but it allows for a cooler hike with fewer people, and a higher possibility of observing the wildlife. Cooler temperatures also reduce the chances of developing certain heat-related stresses on the body including:
- Heat Exhaustion
- Heat Stroke
Remember to replenish the body with water and electrolytes, to take breaks when necessary, and to seek shaded areas when the sun becomes too intense.
Always inform a trusted family member or friend of your travel plans. Include a map with thorough instructions of your planned route and expected time of return, because many areas may not have phone reception, so calling anyone would not be an option during a time of crisis.
There is also the potential of getting lost on your hiking adventure. When that occurs, remember to stop at your current location and try to remain calm. Have some water and a snack, and then consult the map, begin to observe surrounding landmarks, consider potential places for shelter, and plan your next action. Most people experience a rescue within the first 24 hours of becoming lost or encountering any other type of difficulty while hiking. Letting others know your hiking details can aid in a swift recovery.
Planning ahead and knowing what lies ahead will provide you with the necessary skills to enjoy your summer hike in a safe and effective manner. Do not let these precautions deter you from setting out to explore the natural wonders in this world. Wilderness first aid courses and guided tours, like the Grand Canyon tours, can assist you in obtaining the confidence and reassurance that hiking can become a new form of exercise, and will give you a greater appreciation for the environment. So, with your new knowledge, you can lace up those hiking boots and commence your epic outdoor adventure.