Safety is the First Step of Any Hike

Safety is the First Step of Any Hike

Paths that meander alongside creeks and shady groves of trees, open space bursting with flowering plants and inhabited by deer, birds and other wildlife--the outdoors is calling you right now. It’s a perfect time to take a day hike--not only does Orange County have a wealth of trails to explore the natural beauty of the region, but hiking is a great form of exercise.

An hour-long hike can burn 468 calories for a 160-pound person, and walking can help guard against many chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But a healthy hike is a safe hike, and many of those safety precautions should begin before you even set foot outdoors.

Here are some planning steps to take before hitting the trail:

Know where you are going. Get a trail map and find a path that fits your level of expertise. If you are a novice, don’t try a long, uphill climb with rocky terrain. Most trail maps will tell you if a path is easy or tough, how long it is, if the trail is paved or not and more. Often, you can find these maps online for advance planning, but make sure you pick up a hard copy of the trail map at your destination so you can carry it with you on the hike. Once you know where you are going, make sure someone not on the hike knows where you’ll be and the estimated time of your return, in case of emergency.

Put your best foot forward. Cross-training sneakers or trail shoes are good for light hikes; longer treks with hills or dirt paths may be better suited for hiking boots. Make sure they are broken in properly before wearing them on a hike, as new or ill-fitting shoes could cause blisters.

Be prepared. You’ll want to have some supplies on hand for your hike. They include sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat or other sun protection; water (at least two quarts); some snacks, such as dried fruit, trail mix or granola bars; a compass; a first-aid kit with basics such as bandages, gauze, tweezers, antiseptic ointment, hydrocortisone cream and any prescription medications; and a comfortable backpack to carry it all in. If it’s a long hike or you’re in unfamiliar territory, bring some extra food and water as a precaution. Other safety items include a flashlight in case you are stuck on the trail after dark, a water purification tool and a whistle to call for help; a mobile phone is handy to have in case of emergencies, or to let your contact at home know you’ve safely finished your hike, but you can’t always count on cell reception in remote areas.

Predict the weather. Loose layers are good, especially if the clothing is made of moisture-wicking fabric to prevent it from getting damp. A jacket is a good idea if there’s even a chance of rain. You can always peel off the jacket or your top layer of clothing and put it in your pack or tie it around your waist if it gets warm. If your hiking day promises to be a hot one, aim for an early start before temps rise. As the day goes on, find shady spots where you can walk or rest to stay out of the sun. And definitely stop and rest for at least 30 minutes and drink water if you feel nauseous, have a headache or are cramping--these are signs of possible heat exhaustion.

Once you’ve hit the trail, there are some other safety measures to keep in mind. Stay on the trail. Keep an eye out for animals--stop at the ranger’s office before the hike and find out what animals live in the area. Don’t touch unfamiliar plants; again, a talk with the ranger can give you information on poisonous plants along the trail. Prevent injury with a healthy stride. And don’t feel the need to rush--it’s important to take the time to enjoy your beautiful surroundings.

Phillip Cecchini, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician at Mission Hospital. The hospital is part of the St. Joseph Hoag Health network of care. For more information, visit  www.mission4health.com.

Latest News

Cultivated Elegance in Carmel Valley

Travel Jody Robinson

Cultivated Elegance  in Carmel Valley

Relax, Reconnect and Retreat to the Bernardus Lodge & Spa Someone once told me that Carmel was about the “...

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces 2018 – 2019 Jazz Series

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces 2018 – 2019 Jazz Series

Ahmad Jamal Quartet and Shahin Novrasli Kenny Barron Quintet • Kurt Elling Christmas Branford Marsalis Quartet ...

The Story of Modern Dance Revolutionary Isadora Duncan

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

The Story of Modern Dance Revolutionary  Isadora Duncan

Four performances only August 10 – 12, 2018 • Segerstrom Hall Segerstrom Center for the Arts is proud to prese...

A Walk on San Diego's Wild Side

Entertainment Jody Robinson

A Walk on  San Diego's Wild Side

There is no question that San Diego’s Wild Animal Park has taken the concept of safari to the next level. A con...

Pets of the Month

Home Life Jody Robinson

Pets of the Month

Vera is a six year old sweetie with a great personality.  She absolutely loves to be petted and will fol...

Paradise Found. Paradise Automotive Service

Business Showcase Jody Robinson

Paradise Found.   Paradise Automotive Service

As a female, I may be feeding the stereotype when I pen this, but my first thought when I have to take my car...

Stepping into Music History: Nashville, TN

Travel Jody Robinson

Stepping into Music History:  Nashville, TN

It would be difficult to put Nashville on the list of must see places if you didn’t have some kind of appreciat...

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Movie Mondays. Line-Up FREE

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Segerstrom  Center for the Arts   Movie Mondays. Line-Up FREE

Summer Film Series Features: Back to the Future July 9 The Princess Bride July 16 Moonrise Kingdom July 23 T...

What’s in a (Girl’s) Name?

Entertainment Joe D

What’s in a (Girl’s) Name?

What is in a name? Everything, at least in the 1950’s and early 60’s! Our name branded us. Whether it was a nic...

Seaside Dining at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel: enoSTEAK & 180blu

Dining Out Jody Robinson

Seaside Dining at the Ritz-Carlton,  Laguna Niguel: enoSTEAK & 180blu

In the past decade, public attention has shifted to focus on the matter of how we obtain our food, and what exa...

Beacon Carpet Cleaning. Lighting the Way to a Cleaner Space

Business Showcase Sorbet Mag

Beacon Carpet Cleaning. Lighting the Way to a Cleaner Space

When I was a child, I remember my parents moving our family into a new house, with pristine, white carpets. Bea...

Brio Tuscany Grille

Dining Out Sorbet Mag

Brio Tuscany Grille

Winner of the Dana Point Times 2017 “Best of Dana Point” People’s Choice Award for “Best Happy Hour” and “Bes...

Expanding Your Practice at Spa Montage

Health & Wellness Jody Robinson

Expanding Your Practice at Spa Montage

I giggled my way through my first yoga class. I took one in college, alongside two of my girlfriends, and we ju...

Yanni Celebrates 25th Anniversary of His Iconic “Live at the Acropolis” Concert Segerstrom Center…

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Yanni Celebrates  25th Anniversary  of His Iconic “Live at the Acropolis” Concert  Segerstrom Center for the Arts  June 10, 2018

Legendary performer and composer Yanni will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of “Live At The Acropolis” with a wo...

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces 2018 – 2019 Jazz Series

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces 2018 – 2019 Jazz Series

Ahmad Jamal Quartet and Shahin Novrasli Kenny Barron Quintet • Kurt Elling Christmas Branford Marsalis Quartet ...

Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Returns to Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Ina Garten  Barefoot Contessa Returns to  Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Ina Garten, the American culinary icon, author of 10 New York Times b...

Is Your Enlarged Prostate Interfering with Your Quality of Life?

Health & Wellness Robert G. Pugach

Is Your Enlarged Prostate Interfering with Your Quality of Life?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, (BPH), is a condition in men in which the prostate gland is enlarged and not canc...

Is Your Enlarged Prostate Interfering with Your Quality of Life?

Health & Wellness Robert G. Pugach

Is Your Enlarged Prostate Interfering with Your Quality of Life?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, (BPH), is a condition in men in which the prostate gland is enlarged and not canc...

Pageant of the Masters “Under the Sun”

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Pageant of the Masters “Under the Sun”

July 7 – September 1, 2018Shows Nightly at 8:30pm The Pageant of the Masters is arguably one of the most uniqu...

Luxury for Every Age at the Grand Velas Los Cabos

Travel Jody Robinson

Luxury for Every Age  at the Grand Velas  Los Cabos

When I was 24 and planning a trip with a girlfriend to Cabo San Lucas, our families thought the idea sounded, w...

Prev Next