Did you know that the heat will decrease your performance by 12% when compared to hiking in ideal weather (55-80 degrees)? We didn’t know that…until we looked it up! That doesn’t mean you still can’t get heat stroke. Even if you do hike in 60 degree weather, for example, you still need to protect yourself from the sun, drink plenty of water, and remain aware of the symptoms of heat stroke.
Before you go for a hike you should always check the weather forecast before you take off. Weather can change. In our area, winds and monsoon rains kick up without warning or the beating sun can wear on you quickly. That said, hiking is one of the best ways to spend time in the great outdoors and get some good exercise.
But, weather isn’t the only hiking hazard. Here are some rules you should abide by for a safe hike:
Know your way and stay on the trail. Be cognizant of signage for the trail you are hiking, and follow the correct right of way yields. It’s easy to get lost if you are go off the trail and that could bring many more hazards. It is recommended that you don't hike alone. If you do, bring your cell phone, a beacon for safety, or something to help you communicate your location should anything happen to you.
Listen to your body and know when to turn back. You can become fatigued quickly, especially when climbing a mountain. Remember, many times you have the same amount of distance out as you accomplished going into that trail.
Wear the proper gear, especially boots. Some of the most common injuries in hiking include sprains, fractures, and torn ligaments. You probably think that this happens very rarely while hiking. In reality, thousands of people are injured in slip-and-fall accidents each and every year. Having faulty or inadequate hiking gear is major danger because it can impair your ability to safely ascend and descend the mountain or walk the terrain.
Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is perhaps the most important thing while hiking! A lack of proper hydration will significantly increase your chances of getting heat stroke or catching hypothermia.
Flash floods. During monsoon season, the water level – even on the mountain -- increase almost instantly. If it starts raining hard or you hear an increasing sound of water, you will only have a few moments to get to high ground. So, do it immediately!
Good decision-making can help you avoid most of hazards while hiking. It’s important to do your research carefully and know what to expect from the environment--and the weather--you will be hiking in.