It’s warming up out there, and that means hikers and mountain bikers need to take extra precautions before hitting the trail. Unfortunately, according to a story that ran on AZcentral.com, there’s been an uptick of mountain rescues in the Valley compared to last year at this time. Translation: People are not playing it safe out there.
“Common sense is the most important thing to take on the trail,” says Robert Stieve, editor of Arizona Highways. “And water is just as important. A gallon a day is the general rule; however, if you’re hiking the desert in the summer, which is strongly discouraged, you’ll need at least double that amount.”
Stieve also advises that you adhere to 10 basic rules — commandments, really — which he spells out in much more detail in his book, Arizona Highways Hiking Guide: 52 of Arizona’s Best Day Hikes for Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall:
- Never hike alone.
- Tell someone where you’re hiking, the route you’ll be taking and when you’ll be home.
- Carry identification and the name and telephone number of whom to call in case of an emergency.
- Before you leave home, check the forecast, and pay attention to the weather while you’re on the trail.
- Study the maps before you go, and carry a compass, not just a GPS.
- On the trail, know where you’re going where you are in relation to the map you’re carrying.
- Take plenty of food, and carry more water than you think you’ll need.
- There’s no such thing as too much sunscreen.
- Don’t overestimate your abilities.
- Adhere to the Leave No Trace principles.
Spread the word and please share these life-saving tips with out-of-town visitors.