Every hiking trail comes with its own environmental hazards. Preparing for a hike isn’t just restricted to bringing the right hiking gear, but also making sure you’re well aware of the external elements and potential hazards to look out for on your journey.
Animals and Insects
The most obvious and popular hiking hazards are animals and insects. While it is unlikely that you’d run into a bear (unless you’re in bear country) on a casual hike, make sure you know what to expect before you set out on your hike.
Do your due diligence by reading up on the area and asking fellow hikers about animal encounters.
If you’re planning to hike during summer, be prepared to find a whole lot of insects along the way. Apply mosquito repellent before you leave and carry plenty of it in your hiking daypack to avoid getting followed—or worse, bitten—by a swarm of mosquitoes.
Level of Isolation
Although hiking toward remote areas definitely means more scenic landscapes and beautiful views, the distance from civilization also increases the risk of potential hazards, especially in case of an accident.
To stay safe, hike with a group. Extensively research the area before you go hiking. It is always helpful to keep enough food and water with you. Also, if you’re tempted to stray away from the crowd for a little self-exploration, at least tell someone how far you intend to go.
Some hiking trails can get very crowded, especially during pleasant weather. Trail popularity is a legitimate concern not just because you have to wait in line for the view, but also because it gives rise to several potential hazards.
When there are too many hikers, sometimes the surface of the trail can get worn down. Loose rocks become more prone to slipping off, exposed roots of trees may fall off or dirt could get kicked around and fall farther down the trail. Make sure you stay cautious when stepping on any uneven terrains. Also, ensure that you’re carrying a comfortable hiking backpack to avoid any risk of imbalance due to muscle strain.
Also, more often than not, hiking trails are quite steep and narrow, with room for only one person to pass at a time. When there is a crowd on the hiking trail, several people try to pass by at the same time, which is extremely dangerous.
The author of this post is a passionate hiker and a regular contributor to Aarn USA. Aarn is an award winning, New Zealand based designer and manufacturer of ultralight hiking gear. For more information and to browse through their products, visit their official US website www.aarn-usa.com or call 801-971-0007.