As the weather warms up, many people will take to one of California’s many hiking trails to enjoy the scenery and get some exercise. But going out unprepared can leave you exposed to danger. Whether you’re biking, hiking, or even whitewater rafting, a number of hazardous incidents could happen to you, and it’s imperative that you protect yourself from harm on such occasions. Thus, consider a few valuable safety tips from the United States Forest Service.
You first have to be loaded up with the proper equipment prior to leaving on your trip. Things like a hat and sunglasses are simple accessories that can save you a lot of sunburn-related misery down the road. Sunscreen will do the same. Water and foods are also necessities. Your food should be a combination of granola, fruit, and candy or some type of energy bar. You should also bring along first aid in case something goes awry along your route.
When it comes to water, make sure to ration it out in case you get lost or can’t find a water source along your way, especially if you’re going to be out hiking for a couple of days. Even if a map suggests that a stream of water will be right along your path, a particularly dry season is all it takes to remove your water supply.
You should never go out alone on a hiking or biking trail. Having a friend or a group of acquaintances along for the ride is imperative to ensuring safety. That way, everyone can have a certain task for once camp is set up. You won’t feel as under pressure as you normally would with an entire group pitching in, and less pressure leaves less room for accidents.
Everyone in your group should have some idea how to repair equipment. If your backpack breaks while you’re hiking, get it fixed at once. Or if you blow a tire on your bike, you should be ready with the appropriate equipment so that you can take the steps necessary to get back on course.
No matter where you go, it’s particularly important that you adhere to the regulations set forth by the Forest Service and the locality you’re traveling in. Summers in California can bring dry conditions that leave room for wildfires to spring up at seemingly any time. Check the rules beforehand to see if a campfire is permissible. The last thing you want is to be held responsible for a wildfire burning across a wide swath of the countryside.
Finally, know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. Obtaining prompt assistance can be the difference between life and death. You should know how to use first aid supplies and call for help when someone gets hurt. And when someone in your group begins to get winded, take a break or slow the pace so that an emergency doesn’t have the chance to crop up.