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Millie Suk
Millie Suk
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Summer Safety – Part 1: Hiking

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As summer seems to have hit in Minnesota (never mind the fact that we never saw spring!), I decided do a little series of summer safety tips. As topics, I’ve chosen some of my favorite summertime activities, and, as a result, many of my safety tips are lessons I’ve gleaned through personal experience. But I wanted to get something out of these posts as well, so I also did a little digging and have included some other information that I found as well.

One of my all-time favorite activities is hiking. While hiking is certainly not an activity limited to the summer months, for some reason many Minnesotans prefer to do it on warm, sunny days as opposed to the occasionally chilly {insert sarcasm here} January day. Go figure. But regardless of what time of year you decide to go for a hike, I hope you find these tips helpful!

Bring a first-aid kit. The kit should be in a well-marked, water-proof container that is easily accessible. Inspect and re-supply before each trip. This is an important item whether you are headed out for a couple of hours or a few days.

Never approach wild animals. A cute baby {bear, raccoon, etc.} = protective mother nearby. Depending on the type of animal, the safety advice will vary. Generally, back away slowly (don’t run) and let the little (or big) fella continue on his way. That amazing photo is probably not worth the possible rabies vaccination (or worse).

Never hike alone. It’s a lot easier to send someone for help than to crawl to civilization with a broken ankle. Tell others your approximate route and how long you think it will take you. Check-in with them when you return. If you are going for a multi-day hike, choose a panic date (i.e. if you don’t hear from me by Saturday, send the hounds!). Bring a whistle to better alert searchers of your location. Consider bringing a cell phone – you can leave it off unless you have an emergency. There’s a good chance that you won’t get service, but it never hurts to try!

Beware of weather conditions. Check the forecast before you leave and be sure to bring adequate clothing and water. Many are surprised to learn that more people die from hypothermia in the summer than in the winter. If it is wet and windy, the temperatures don’t have to drop much for the risk to become real.

Stay hydrated and fueled. Bring more water than you think you’ll need. Don’t drink from ponds, streams, etc. without using iodine tablets or a water pump. Be sure to bring some high-calorie snacks. If you are going out for a long day or a multi-day trip, you should bring at least enough food to last you an extra day.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, so feel free to comment and add some of your basic hiking safety tips! Minnesotans, get out and enjoy the warm weather! But remember, safety first!

Think about it.

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    I would also say let someone know where yuo are hiking so if something goes wrong they will know where to find you. Also stay on any trails that are avaialble; again so if something goes astray you can be found.