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HIKING

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HIKING
I. Things to Remember A. Take Care of Your Feet 1. toenails trimmed 2. feet clean and dry (use foot powder) 3. treat "hot spots" immediately a. moleskin b. band-aids c. adhesive tape d. duct tape 4. good thick socks with plenty of cushioning (no cotton) a. wool is good for both cold and hot weather b. try polypropylene liner sock, then wool over liner 5. shoes/boots should fit properly and be broken in – snug but not tight – keep them clean and waterproofed B. Dress Properly – wear what's appropriate, not what you feel like 1. anticipate changes in weather (ALAWYS bring rain gear) 2. layer clothing for best insulation C. Learn How to Hike 1. walk like you have somewhere to go; walk with a purpose, don't just amble along – at the same time, don't forget to stop and "smell the roses" 2. set a steady, comfortable, rhythmic pace – remember, the object is to finish, not "win" – adjust pace for uphill/downhill – strive for constant effort, not constant speed 3. stay alert, don't daydream (safety) 4. take rest breaks as necessary or at regular intervals (eg, 5 minutes every hour) D. Safety First 1. traffic a. single file facing traffic b. at night - use flashlights, wear light or reflective colors, tie white handkerchief on right knee c. when crossing road - form line parallel to road, leaders at either end; when leaders signal "clear," all cross together (no stragglers, no jumping the gun, and definitely NO ONE crossing whenever he/she feels like it)

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trail a. stick to planned route and schedule (plan the hike, hike the plan) b. no one wanders off trail alone or without informing leader c. be alert for hazards i. loose, mossy, or wet rocks ii. poison ivy iii loose gravel, mud, ice on sloping ground iv. unsafe bridge or other means of crossing stream or gully v. fast-moving water (moving water does not have to be very deep or moving very fast to be a hazard) vi. high wind vii. cold rain viii. lightning d. don't put hands or feet in places you can't see e. going down steep trail, use "side step" and don't cross your feet

E. Food/Water 1. bring with you unless you KNOW you can obtain on trail (everybody brings a quart of water) 2. no trail water can be guaranteed safe to drink – bring water to a boil, use purification tablets or drops (wait at least 30 minutes), or use a filter – techniques depends on your water source, so you must be knowledgeable – remember that some water sources may be unsafe regardless of what you do (eg, chemical pollution) 3. drink water in sips as you go – don't wait until you are thirsty, then drink in big gulps 4. food should not be heavy or require much preparation – bring energy-rich foods such as chocolate, raisins, unsalted peanuts, M&Ms, dry cereal such as Cheerios (can mix these together ahead of time as a "trail mix") – remember: you bring it, you carry it F. You Bring It, You Carry It 1. need a day pack or some other "carrier" for extra clothing, food/water, and whatever other gear will be needed 2. everyone carries their own share (leaders do not carry Scout gear because that's what Scouts are used to – growing up has to start some time) G. Fire Safety (if you have to build one) 1. only in designated areas (do not create new fire sites, the scars are ugly) only as big as you need, and no larger – only when you have complete control (eg, forget it in dry, windy weather) 2. clear fire area beforehand; make sure fire is dead out and cold before you leave; police up fire site to leave clean and neat

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H. Leave No Trace (police up your own mess) 1. leave nothing of yours behind (no candy wrappers, aluminum foil, empty cans, nothing) 2. if you carried it in, you carry it out I. Courtesy 1. be friendly 2. ask permission (and accept a "No" answer graciously) 3. do not bother animals, plants, or physical surroundings (remember Leave No Trace?) – and with respect to animals, there's a reason they call it "wild"life (notice they do not call it "tame"life); do not expect nondomesticated animals to act like household pets 4. always, always, always make sure that you close the gate behind you

II. Planning the Hike (Proper Prior Planning/Preparation Prevents Poor/Perilous Performance) A. Take What You Will Need (this depends on the hike) 1. small first aid kit and select from the following: a. waterproof matches, lighter, other means of starting a fire in an emergency b. cell phone or change for a pay phone (if you can find one) – remember that not all areas have adequate cell phone coverage c. several safety pins – they come in handy for a variety of things d. pocket knife e. handkerchief or bandana f. string/twine (25 to 50 feet – again, you never know) g. toilet paper in a plastic bag (leaves, moss, and plant stems work, but Charmin is so much nicer) – bring another plastic bag to carry out your toilet paper (do NOT leave it behind – if the thought of this bothers you so much that you cannot do it, then maybe you should not be out hiking) h. pen/pencil and pocket pad of paper i. sunscreen/hat/sunglasses j. anything else you might "reasonably" need, depending on the hike 2. rain gear (always – regardless of the forecast or what it looks like out) 3. map and compass (and know how to use them before you go)

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B. Think About/Anticipate Potential Problems, Hazards, and Issues Ahead of Time 1. is it likely to be dark before we return 2. do we need any special permit 3. transportation there and back 4. permission slips from parents 5. special medical or dietary needs 6. adequate guides and supervision 7. what's the weather likely to be – what could it be (you have done some research on the planned hike area) C. Wherever You Go, Let Someone Know (the hike plan) 1. date, time, place of departure and return 2. destination(s) and route(s)/method(s) of travel (itinerary) 3. length of hike and purpose 4. who is going – all youth and all adults 5. what permissions did you obtain 6. what is the transportation plan 7. what special equipment did you take 8. what provision was made for food and water 9. designated contact person(s) in case of emergency, or just for general ongoing contact – leave this person a map of your itinerary In general, give enough information that you can be found, if you have to be, and so people will know your general situation. This is also a checklist to make sure that you have done everything to have a safe, successful, and rewarding hike Make your plan and stick to it, except in the case of emergency or exceptional situation (then, if possible, let your contact person know) – plan the hike, hike the plan.


				
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posted:11/29/2009
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