As I mentioned earlier this week, I will be hiking with my Webelos den today. Before we start out, we will check that they are prepared and go over some hiking safety guidelines.
These guidelines are appropriate for a front country adventure in an area like a park. That is the only type of hiking which is appropriate for Cub Scouts. If you are going on a back country hike, then you need to consider some other safety rules, like bringing a fire source and knife.
Hiking Safety (Front Country)
- Plan ahead. Find out about the area you will be hiking. Look at a map of the trails beforehand and choose a trail which is of the appropriate length for the time you have. And tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Don’t get lost. Know where you are going. Bring a trail map with you and stick to the established trail. Don’t wander off the trail.
- Bring plenty of water with you. Your hike won’t be much fun if you feel sick from being dehydrated.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Check the weather and wear clothing which will keep you warm. But dress in layers, because you might warm up as you start hiking. Wear sturdy, closed toed shoes.
- Take a break when you get tired. Sit down and enjoy the scenery around you. Watch for wildlife. If you overexert yourself you could increase your chance of injury or health problems.
- Remember the principals of Leave No Trace. Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time. Disturbing plants and wildlife can result in injury.
- Don’t forget your first aid kit. Be prepared for any minor injuries which might occur.
- Bring a whistle. If you need immediate assistance, give three short blasts on it. Stay where you are, especially if you are lost. Help will come to you.
- Keep your feet dry. Wet feet become irritated and uncomfortable.
- Avoid sunburn. Apply sunscreen and wear a hat.
- Always hike with a group. Never hike alone.
- Let the slowest hiker go first. That way everyone stays together and nobody gets left behind.
- If you get lost, stay where you are. It will be easier for people to find you if you stay put.