When it comes to summer hiking, planning your route properly is crucial. After all, selecting the wrong hiking trail may hinder your enjoyment of the day as well as impact your health and safety. Based on my hiking experience, there are five factors that should always be considered when selecting a summer hiking trail. Here's a quick peek at each one:
Degree of Remoteness
One of the first factors that a summer hiker should consider when selecting a trail is the trail's degree of remoteness. A summer hiking trail's remoteness is important because it has a direct impact on how fast emergency personnel may arrive when needed. As such, I would recommend that inexperienced hikers stick to well traveled trails that offer quick access to emergency assistance.
Exposure to Sunlight
It is also crucial to pay attention to how much sun exposure a hiking trail has and the forecasted weather conditions. The reason why is that engaging in prolonged physical activity when the weather is hot and humid may lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion and other similar ailments. In addition, knowing how much sun exposure a trail has is also helpful when making gear and clothing selections.
Access to Potable Water
A hiking trail's access to potable water should be factored into a summer hiker's plans as well. The reason why is that staying hydrated before, during and after periods of intense physical activity is essential to one's overall health. If a hiking trail has no access to potable water, you may want to consider using a portable hydration system or familiarizing yourself with backcountry, water sanitization techniques.
Difficulty of Terrain
The difficulty of a hiking trail's terrain is another principal factor to take into account when making a trail selection. Knowing a hiking trail's terrain is important because it can affect your gear choice, health and safety. For instance, a hiking trail's soil makeup and water hazards will have a bearing on what type of hiking boots you should wear. The hiking trail's peak elevation, on the other hand, may affect your ability to breathe properly and your ability to start an emergency campfire.
Prevalence of Wildlife
A hiking trail's prevalence of certain wildlife should also play a role in your trail selection for safety reasons. For example, you may not want to hike a trail that is known to be frequented by bears, poisonous snakes or mountain lions without understanding the risks and knowing what to do in the event of an encounter.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation. She has also traveled extensively.
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