Backpacking and hiking are by nature are casual and relaxed sports. However, it is important to remember that the wilderness is totally indifferent to the presence of human visitors. While there are no forces seeking to harm hikers, there are none seeking to help them, either. So, one should have some hiking safety tips and rules while hiking these areas. These rules and tips will maintain safety while you going out for the rough and tough challenges.
In any kind of wilderness emergency-whether snakebite, a sudden snowstorm, or scorching heat-you are entirely on your own. Even if companions can go for help in an emergency, hours or days may pass before rescuers arrive.
Backcountry safety is largely a matter of common sense.
Avoid pushing yourself or members of your party beyond their abilities. Most twisted ankles and broken bones occur because someone was rushing to reach a goal or pushing a slow hiker. Any group can travel safely only as fast as its slowest member.
Plan your trail hiking trip carefully, allowing extra time to reach each day’s campsite. In this case, you can also return to the car on a day hike. You may be distracted by a side hike or want to spend extra time on a mountaintop. If something goes wrong, such as a bad blister, you will have time to take care of the problem.
Plan for events such as sudden snowstorms, and consider exit routes where you can abort the trip early if needed. Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it. Take a first aid course!
Staying hydrated is important for proper and safer hunting.
One of the ways is to keep water with you, but carrying that much water for a long trip is quite tough. So, you need to collect it from the nearer water source.
The availability of water governs most backpack trips in Arizona. Most people plan their hikes so that there is water at each campsite and lunch stop and carry at least two quarts of water. Except during the winter, two quarts is usually a safe minimum, but in hotter weather or when water sources are uncertain, the safe minimum maybe four to eight quarts per person per day.
Although topographic and forest maps show springs and running streams, do not count on the water actually being there unless you have a reliable source of information or personal experience which indicates so. Many springs and streams dry up after long dry periods of weather. Be aware of recent weather and precipitation, and carry enough water to see you through to the next water source if one happens to be dry.
Keep in mind that it is unnecessary to camp at a water source. Many dry camps are more pleasant than overused, trampled campsites near springs. Besides, your presence may prevent wildlife from coming for a drink-which could be particularly critical during the dry summer months.
There are a number of reliable collapsible water containers on the market. With one of these, a hiker can carry enough water from the last spring of the day to last through the night and into the next day until reaching another water source.
And hikers who are not restricted to campsites with water can choose from a spectacular variety of fine campsites-mountaintops, open ridges, and forested glades.
Are All Water Safe to Drink?
It’s sad but true that most wilderness water sources are no longer safe to drink. The exceptions are isolated springs and water flowing directly from a fresh snowfield. Increased human use has contaminated most other water sources, and many have been polluted by domestic cattle or wildlife.
Giardiasis, an often-severe gastrointestinal infection caused by a protozoa parasite, has received much attention in the past few years. Land management agencies and backpackers alike have voiced a great deal of concern over the problem.
It now seems clear that the protozoa causing Giardiasis is naturally present in many water supplies, including those of many cities, but is spread to wilderness areas by mammals, including man. Not all people are affected, but for those who are, the symptoms can be incapacitating.
Iodine tablets such as Globaline or Potable Agua will kill most organisms in water, including Giardia lamblia and its cysts. Use one tablet per quart (two if the water is contaminated with decaying organic matter such as leaves), and allow the water to stand for ten minutes (twenty minutes if the water is very cold).
According to the third edition of Medicine for Mountaineering, even resistant Giardia cysts are killed by the concentration of iodine released by these tablets. The iodine tablets must be kept sealed in their original container, however, since any moisture will release the iodine and destroy their effectiveness.
Water filters can also be used for purification, but practical filters require a pump for a reasonable output of water and, until recently, seemed too heavy and expensive for backpacking. Newer, lighter designs are becoming more available, however. Chlorine tablets are less effective on wilderness water sources because of organic matter in the water which is removed in city water systems.
Foodborne disease can be an unexpected souvenir during the hike – so be prepared from the start
Take things that you know your child likes. A backcountry trip is no place to introduce new foods. Besides the possibility of being rejected, a new food may create stomach problems, and who needs to be changing diapers every few minutes when you’re ten miles from the trailhead.
Here are some food safety tips during the hike
It may seem strange to talk about hypothermia in a state as hot as Arizona, but much outdoor recreation in the state takes place in higher areas or during cooler times of the year. Especially in winter and early spring, sudden storms can drop snow on deserts as low as 2,000 feet and several feet of snow can accumulate at higher elevations.
Snow is possible between October and May above 5,000 feet and any time of the year above 9,000 feet and a number of hikers who were unprepared for such conditions have died.
Sun-Sunscreen is a necessity here in the sunny Southwest. Check with your doctor for a recommended type and then be sure to use it. If it’s not too hot, dress the little one in long sleeves and long pants. And don’t forget that feet and hands can easily burn, too. A brimmed or “Foreign Legion”. a style that is a must.
Cold & Heat-Babies and young children are much more vulnerable to extremes in temperature. Take a first aid course and know the signs and treatment of heat-related problems, hypothermia, and frostbite.
Before leaving on your trip, get the immediate and long-range weather forecasts. Delay or reschedule your trip if a major winter storm is a forecast. Plan alternate routes and escape routes on longer trips. Learn to read weather from the wind and the sky. An experienced hiker can predict the weather surprisingly well from just these natural signs, and rarely does an approaching storm arrive without some warnings signs.
Learn, too, the symptoms of hypothermia and how to prevent it. With modern clothing and by layering that clothing, it is possible to hike in inclement weather with a considerable margin of safety.
Necessary hiking equipment can vary from trail to trail, though a short checklist insight can help
For a safe and sound hiking, you need to keep some essential items with you. Keeping these items will not only save you from many troubles, but also will make it enjoyable and risk-free. But sometimes while making the backpack ready, people tends to forget one or two items and later that become costly.
So, I am giving a short hiking gear checklist:
Introduce the world to your newest member of the adventure crew.
More and more hikers are heading to the wilderness with their children. Enjoying nature with kids is a simple, inexpensive way to spend time as a family.
For hiking with infants, Infants must be carried and toddlers can’t go very far under their own power, but hiking possibilities are only limited by the parents’ imagination (and strength!).
For infants, you will need some kind of chest carrier. You can find toddler hiking carrier, hiking with baby backpack items for this kind of jobs. Search for “camping essentials for baby” to find the right items for your infant children.
Once a child can comfortably support his or her head and sit up, then a backpack/child carrier is much more enjoyable for parent and passenger.
Many different brands are available these days. Look for one that has well-padded shoulder straps, waist belt, and child’s seat. A good pack can be adjusted to fit different sized parents and kids and has a good restraining strap system so that the little one cannot climb out unnoticed.
And speaking of diapers, disposable ones are handier than cloth ones on a hike. But remember, you must pack them out. There are biodegradable diapers now available, but still, these should not be left in the backcountry since the decomposition process is relatively slow.
When leaving your vehicle at a trailhead, make sure that valuables are out of sight, preferably locked in the trunk. Don’t tempt someone to break into your car. Ideally, leave nothing behind in the car and have a worry free hike.