The beauty of the State of Idaho is captivated in the summertime. With the sun out extra long, us Idahoans take every opportunity to get outside. This includes exploring the great outdoors. You can expect a lot of hiking. However, let’s paint the picture of precautions we should all make before letting our feet hit the trails.
If you are lost…
STOP. THINK. OBSERVE. PLAN.
- Take a moment to think and relax so you don’t become overwhelmed with the situation. Eat a snack, or drink some water that you have packed, and prepare with more sunscreen or a flashlight in hand if it is dark.
- Look at your map, and try to remember landmarks you have passed. Do your best to mentally retrace your footsteps. Don’t worry about being in a hurry.
- Look around to make sure you and others in your group are not injured in any way. Take care of things one-step at a time, important to least important.
- Put together your plan and then put it into action.
Dehydration: If you are thirsty, dehydration has already started to set in! You should be drinking plenty of water and other fluids. If you or anyone in your group begin to feel thirst, headaches, dizziness, nausea, cramps, or extreme fatigue, you need to find shade! In the shade, sip small amounts of water and allow rest to help the dehydrated body before moving forward. In extreme cases, you or your group should discontinue the hike and seek medical attention.
Heat exhaustion: The beginning of exhaustion can be similar to dehydration. Pale and clammy skin, heavy sweating, nausea, tired or dizziness, headaches, and muscle cramps. Remain in the shade with plenty of water. Try putting a cold, wet piece of fabric on the forehead of the exhausted person. In extreme cases, heat stroke can arise when the body reaches over 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This can cause increased heart rate, hot red skin, and confusion. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Elevation change: With higher elevation comes less oxygen and added physical exertion. This can accelerate dehydration and heat exhaustion. Take plenty of breaks, drink plenty of water, and maintain a good speed for YOU!
Lack of Phone Reception: In many areas to explore there is a beautiful, yet scary thing that happens… lack of cell phone reception! Yes, you’ll have to post on Facebook or Instagram after your hike. Plan ahead. Don’t count on your phone if there is an emergency. Instead, let others know your location and an estimated finishing time before your set out on the trails.
Have a safe and well-hydrated summer! Stay on those trails!