Hiking is one of the best ways to go toe-to-toe with nature and test your limits. With long treks, changes in the weather and unforeseeable dangers, survivalist techniques may need to come into play at times. Well worth the risks, hiking is a great way to get in touch with your wild side and appreciate the world around you. However, it may be worth your while to brush up on what sort of trouble you may run into on the trail.
Here are some dangers to watch out for when the great outdoors isn’t so great.
1. Lion and Tigers and Bears
Maybe not so many tigers, but bears, wolves, and other predatory species are a real danger that you may encounter — especially if you stray from the trail. Be sure to avoid wandering too far off the path if you’re new to hiking. Do some research about the animals that inhabit the area around you, and have a plan to stay safe if you encounter one.
2. Changes in the Weather
Nothing is more unpredictable than the lottery and the weather. Be sure you check the forecast before heading out and take gear that will keep you warm and dry. Dressing in layers is a great way to stay comfortable throughout the day as the temperature changes. Be sure to also have waterproof clothing so that you don’t spend your night shivering.
3. Yellow Jackets and Hornets
Prevalent on many trails, yellow jackets and hornets are stinging insects that unlike bees, don’t give up after the first sting.
While the sting itself usually just leads to pain or itchiness, if you’re allergic to one or the other, you’ll need to seek medical attention immediately. Be sure to know how to tell the difference between the two, and have a plan of attack if you do get stung. Avoid nests when possible. If you absolutely have to walk past one, try not to touch it, and get as much space from it as possible.
4. Fording Water
Remember that time in Oregon Trail where you were willing to risk your supplies/life to ford the river and get to the promised land? The stakes are the same in real life.
When crossing rivers and streams, be cautious of drops in shallow water and strong currents. If you’re crossing on rocks or logs, be sure to keep your balance — you don’t get a redo button this time around.
5. Going Rogue
If you go with a group on a trail, as tempting as it may be to rough it and pull a lone-wolf adventure, it may not be the best idea. If you do need to wander off from the group, be sure to let them know, and give them a rough time that they can expect you back.
Try not to veer too far off at night, and make sure you know your way back.
It’s always smart to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Stay safe with this information, and enjoy your hike!
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington