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Be Prepared For Hiking

Be prepared! 
  1. Maybe you're just out for a day hike but it is always a good idea to be prepared for an emergency overnight stay.  Consider how you will stay dry, warm and fed.  There is always a chance your preparedness may be what saves another hiker as well. 
    1. Keep hydrated and bring plenty of drinking water and some way to purify water in case of an emergency.
    2. Bring more food than you think you will need and consider a 2 day supply.  You'll be burning calories and if your return is delayed due an unforeseen problem the last thing you want to worry about is being hungry and thirsty.
    3. Plan how you will stay warm in case you are faced with an unexpected overnight stay.  Minimally have a space blanket.  An emergency Bivvy Bag doesn't have to cost a lot and can weigh very little
  2. Don't be caught in the dark!  Sometimes a hike may take more time than you anticipated, bring a fully charged headlamp and batteries in case it gets to dark to safely see the trail and you can keep your hands free. 
  3. Have a first-aide kit with you and be sure to pack band-aides in case of blisters from rubbing boots. 
  4. Your hike may start in the sunshine but your destination can end in rain or even snow.  Bring layers of clothing and a rain poncho is always a good idea.  Having a couple of 30 gallon garbage sacks are good for keeping you dry in a pinch and your gear.
  5. Have a good map and navigation.  Many people use GPS to navigate, keep in mind if your GPS relies on cell service you will very likely be out of range.  The compass is still a good ol' reliable.
  6. If you ford a creek or river in early morning the flow of the water can be significantly higher, sometimes as much as a foot higher, as the days warms up and snow melts.  This is always important to keep in mind if returning back to the same ford.
  7. We all love to get great pictures to share but remember you are the visitor in our surrounding wildlife neighborhood.  The best wildlife photography is done by telephoto giving animals a respectful distance.  Trying to get close to animals could be dangerous to you as well as them.
  8. Be aware of your surroundings.  Did you see scat, fecal matter, on the trail?  What animal, what was it eating and how fresh was it.  An example:
    1. You come across fresh bear scat, the bear had been eating blackberries and the scat is very fresh, then that bear may be very close.
    2. You come across bear scat which appears maybe a day old, very likely you are hiking on a bear foraging route to their berry patch.
    3. When you think you might be in the territory of a bear most conflict can be avoided by not startling them and allowing protective mothers to gather her you close to her.  If they can hear you and easily identify you as human they will usually avoid you.
    4. Bears are opportunist eaters and like to try out new flavors such as toothpaste, candy, pet food and more.  Avoid these conflicts by keeping where you eat and camp clean.
Tips & information for a safe and prepared hiker:

Washington Trails Association's:
Building A Hiking First Aid Kit

Are you spending time out in the remote wilderness?  Be prepared  to handle the emergencies you could be facing with:
Wilderness Medicine Training Center

Not all water in that pristine wilderness is pure to drink.  Here is a good article by R.E.I. Co Op - How to Choose a Water Filter or Purifier.

Keeping hydrated is essential!  Not drinking enough water can turn that perfect hike into a dangerous disaster.  Learn more at this website about Hydration Basics.

Understanding Hypothermia