No matter where you live, summer is a wonderful time to explore the outdoors, and one of the purest ways you can do this is by hiking. Georgia hosts a variety of State Parks and forest preserves to walk through and take in the natural sights, but it's important to observe all proper safety precautions, as hiking can sometimes pose more risks than you might think.
Take a look at the tips below to avoid hiking injuries this summer.
1. Don’t Go Alone
Although it doesn't happen very often, every once in a while you hear a horror story of a hiker who falls off of a cliff, gets caught under a fallen tree trunk, etc. By far, the most important rule you can observe is simply to take a buddy with you. It's more fun that way anyway.
2. Take Your Cell Phone
Sure, hiking is your way to escape the hustle and bustle of the modern world, but what happens if both you and your buddy become injured, or you can't find your way back? By taking your full-charged cell phone with you, help is only seconds away.
3. Start Out Early in the Day
Starting in mid to late afternoon isn't recommended, especially if you plan on hiking for many hours. If you're still out hiking when night falls, it can become very difficult to find your way back. Hiking in the woods at night opens up a variety of hiking injuries and risks.
4. Don’t Drink out of Lakes and Streams
It might be tempting to drink the crystal clear water out of a stream or lake, but it's actually not worth it. Even if it looks clean, you still don't know what's in there. There could be bacteria in the water that your body isn't used to. Instead, bring a large bottle of water, that's easy enough to carry.
5. Keep Your Eye Out for Wild Animals
Make sure to look down at the trail ahead of you to make sure there are no animals in your path. Stepping on them is a great way to unintentionally provoke them to fight back - especially snakes.
6. Know Your Limits
Don't make a leap over a ravine or decide to walk through a fast-moving stream unless you're positive that you will come out on the other side. It's important to gauge your experience as a hiker and the number of times you've successfully completed such attempts. If you're a novice at hiking, simply take it easy and find a simpler path.
7. Bring a First Aid Kit
Sometimes as easy as taking along a small first aid kit, can prevent small injuries from turning into larger ones.