Many people have rediscovered the great outdoors in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Social distancing measures have greatly restricted indoor gatherings, but outdoor activities, particularly once parks were reopened, allowed people to get out of their homes while still keeping their distance from others.
Remote hiking trails provide perfect opportunities to experience the wonder of nature while social distancing, but it’s imperative that hikers take certain precautionary measures on such excursions in order to stay safe.
- Pack extra clothing. Extra clothing is vital on a remote hiking excursion for a number of reasons. Some extra socks, a wind- and rain-resistant jacket and an extra pullover can help hikers stay warm and dry if the weather changes while they’re hiking and trying to return to their vehicles. In addition, extra clothing can help hikers stay warm if they suffer an injury while hiking and need to camp overnight once the sun goes down.
- Pack extra food. Extra food and water is just as vital when hiking remote areas as extra clothing. Extra food can make emergency situations more manageable, helping people avoid hunger if they need to camp overnight or simply keep their energy up on long hikes. Trail mix tends to be high in calories and full of protein, making it an ideal, easily packed food to bring along on a hiking trip.
- Don’t go it alone. Solo hiking can be a great way to connect with nature, but it’s always best to hike remote areas with at least one other person. Hiking in pairs ensures someone is there to seek help if a hiker is injured and rendered immobile while out on the trails.
- Let others know your whereabouts. If going on a solo hike or even with a partner, share your location and intended hiking route with a loved one who is not coming along for the hike. Let this person know when you intend to return and that you will call them when you safely make it back to your vehicle. If the call never comes, your loved one can then alert the appropriate authorities and share detailed information about where you are hiking.
- Bring maps. Pack a road map showing the way to the trail and a map of the park itself. Remote areas may not have the best internet connections, rendering car GPS systems useless. And a printed map of the park can help hikers reduce their risk of getting lost once inside the park. Pick up or order a map of the park in the days prior to your trip. Don’t wait until you arrive at the park to get a map, as the park may not have any on hand.