Seven Ways to Stay Safe When You're out in Nature Alone
There are many wonderful reasons to head out in nature, and even more, if you head out on a hike alone. It can provide you with a meditative experience, as well as a recharge, so you return home feeling refreshed.
That doesn't mean everything about hiking alone is wonderful. Unfortunately, heading out into nature on your own can also be dangerous.
Don't find yourself stranded in the woods or injured on the trail with no way of knowing how you're going to return to home. Follow these tips so you can stay safe when you head out into the wilderness by yourself.
Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings
When you're out hiking on a trail, it's extremely important to be aware of your surroundings. That includes when you're driving your car to and from the trail head, keeping an eye on the animals that are moving around you, as well as any cliffs, rocks, or debris that could cause you to trip and fall.
You will also want to be aware of any other people who are on the trail. If you come across other hikers, you're not likely to get injured. If instead someone approaches on a mountain bike, you could both be in for a rude ending to your day.
Mirmanlawyers.com states, "After an accident, anyone who is personally harmed can potentially file an injury claim and request damages." That's helpful if you find yourself injured on or around the trail, but that doesn't mean you want to have to deal with the expenses and attorneys. Skip the injury and be mindful of what's just around the corner on the trail.
Bring Plenty of Water
It is extremely important to bring along plenty of water when you're hiking alone in the woods. You could be gone for hours, and that's all it can take to become dehydrated, especially on a hot, sunny day. Should you become lost, you can only go without water for a few days.
Come prepared for your day by making sure you bring along as much water as you'll need. That might mean a full water bottle for just a few hours, or a water bladder backpack if you'll be out all day.
Pack the Right Supplies
Water is one of the most important supplies you need to pack, but there are many other hiking essentials you should put in your backpack too. Just a few include:
First aid kit
Lip balm with SPF
You should also take a look at the weather before you leave. That way you can pack a poncho if it's forecasted to rain, or a jacket if the temperature is going to drop in the evening.
Bring Your Cell Phone
If you're heading out into nature alone, you probably want to unplug. That's great! Getting away from all those text messages, phone calls, and email notifications can be rewarding.
That doesn't mean you should leave your phone at home. It's actually a much better idea to bring your cell phone with you, even if you put it on silent or turn it off. That's because there are quite a few ways your phone can help you when you're in the wilderness.
With GPS capabilities, your phone can help you navigate the trails. GPS can be especially helpful if you decide to deviate from the trail and you get lost, as it can help you find your way back.
You can stay up-to-date on the weather, and you can learn more about the details of the area on a whim. Of course, it can be your lifeline should you become injured or lost
Make Sure Someone Knows Where You Are
Hiking on your own can be liberating, but it can also cause a lot of trouble. If the worst does happen and you become lost or injured and unable to move, will anyone know where to look for you?
Although having your cell phone can be helpful, service can be spotty in wild areas, so it's important that you tell someone where you're going. Tell them what park you will be hiking in, and if you can, get specific about which trails you want to take.
Let them know exactly when you're leaving and how long you expect to be gone. That way, if you don't check in when they're expecting you to, they know exactly where to start looking for you.
Stop by the Ranger Station, If One Is Available
Not all parks have ranger stations, but if they area where you're hiking does have one, it's a good idea to stop by.
Rangers can provide you with advice on which trails to take, what the weather is going to be like, and they may even offer a program that you would like to attend that day. More importantly, you can tell the ranger your name, your plans, and the fact that you're hiking alone.
The rangers will be the first to head out and look for you should something happen. Knowing your name, what you look like, and your intentions can help them find you faster.
Know Your Limits and Don't Push It
You may have dreams of spending the day conquering a difficult trail, but if the most you do on a regular basis is take short walks, it's not a good idea.
It's important to know your limits before you head out alone. Consider the experience you have with the terrain in question, and whether you have the right gear to conquer it. Pick a trail you know you can handle and save a harder trail for after you have more experience, or when you're heading out with a group.
Hiking alone may be just what you need to push the reset button on your day-to-day life, but it also has the potential to be dangerous. Make sure you get all the benefits without any of the negatives by following the tips on this list.