Snohomish County Living – Fall hiking tips that could save your life.
Fall is a wonderful time of year to get out and hit the trail. The air is crisp and clean, the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red and orange and the bugs have all but disappeared. But Fall hiking can bring more risk if you venture out without the proper gear and preparation. Here are some important tips:
- Tell someone where you are going: Knowing where you were headed, whether alone or with friends, lets others know where to start looking if you don’t make it back. Be specific. Give coordinates if you can, especially for longer-distance trails. Use maps and internet resources to plot your trip. And make sure to take your cell phone with you. Tracking its signal can mean a quick rescue. Even better, pack along a GPS and/or a good map.
- Take water, food and mini-survival kit. This is a no-brainer. Always be prepared for the worst, and pack food, medical supplies or ways to shelter yourself in an emergency. Supplies are light and affordable these days. Have a kit ready to go and stowed where you’ll remember it. This includes clothing. Dress in layers and have something that will keep you dry in a pinch.
- It’s hunting season! You are sharing the natural world with other outdoor enthusiasts right now, some of whom are armed. Hunting is not allowed in Washington’s state parks, but you need to be very careful on lands managed by Washington State Department of Natural Resources and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife during hunting season. Wear bright colors and avoid the deep woods.
- Watch the weather. It’s like they say: Don’t like the weather in the Pacific Northwest? Wait five minutes. Our lickety-split climactic changes can work for or against you. Have emergency protection ready to go, and watch out for slides or other hazards that inclement weather can bring. If you feel like you are getting in over your head, don’t be embarrassed to call for help.
- Here, there be bears. And moose, and cougars, oh my! Fauna are as much a part of the hiking world as the picturesque flora. Most of them stay well hidden, but some wildlife may be looking to add a few pounds before hibernation. Bone up on bear safety and wildlife viewing ethics. Carry a whistle and bells, especially if you are headed into bear territory.
- Know when to hold up. Do you know the how to yield when you are on the trail? Practicing proper trail etiquette is not just gracious, it’s imperative to your safety and those around you. Follow this link to brush up on how to know when to go and when to slide to the side.
So, now that you are all set, get out there and explore our amazing region. Maybe I will see you on the trail.
Thank you Washington State Parks for some of the content.