California has some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world. The summertime provides you with the perfect excuse to hit those trails and enjoy some high-quality hikes. Before you do, make sure you take a few minutes to consider your safety.
Be Realistic About Your Fitness
Let’s face it. Most of us aren’t as in shape as we’d like to be. Overdoing it and getting exhausted while on one of California’s hiking trails differs from getting too tired while working out at the gym. It’s far more dangerous. When hiking it’s better to underestimate your stamina and fitness than to overestimate it.
Don’t assume that being out of shape means you shouldn’t go hiking, it just means you need to do a little more planning. Consider both the length of the hike, if there are places to sit, how shaded the trail is, if the terrain is rough or smooth, and the site’s overall elevation before starting your hike. Make sure you’re going to have enough energy to return to your car.
You’re going to get hot quickly. The heat and exertion increase the odds of your dehydrating so make sure you have plenty of water in your pack. Frequently take small sips, even if you don’t think you’re thirsty. Dehydration is something that sometimes catches people by surprise.
Pack a First Aid Kit
When you’re putting together your hiking pack, make sure there is a small, well-stocked first aid kit tucked into it. The first aid kit should include some topical antibiotics, band-aids, and a wrap.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
While you’re hiking, keep your head up and your eyes off your phone. You need to be aware of your surroundings. Know what people are around you, be ready for wildlife and dogs that are off-leash. Don’t forget to pay attention to any stinging insects.
Let Someone Know Where you Are
Even though you might prefer hiking by yourself, you should at least make sure someone knows what trails you’re going to be on and when you intend to be done hiking. Letting someone in on your itinerary helps them know if you don’t return on time and helps them direct people to the area where they should start looking for you.
Don’t assume that just because all of your past hikes have been successful that you won’t get lost or hurt on your next one.