Your outside venture should be well planned and prepared. Keep yourself safe and learn how to prevent being rescued. Take a minute to review the following checklist before you go outside.
Always inform someone of your plans
- Tell a spouse, friend, neighbor of where you are going and your expected time of return.
- Provide them with a map and the route that you expect to take and STICK TO YOUR PLAN.
- Make sure your backup person has the appropriate emergency phone numbers and description and license plate of your vehicle.
Bring plenty of water
In warm months each hiker should carry and drink about a gallon (4 liters) of water per day. Watch your "ins and outs". Drink enough so that urine frequency, clarity, and volume are normal. You are not drinking enough water if your urine is dark, small in quantity, or non-existent in the course of a day's hiking. In addition, eating adequate amounts of food will help you replace the electrolytes (salts) that you are sweating.
During the summer months, your fluid/electrolyte loss can exceed two quarts per hour if you hike uphill in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. Because the inner canyon air is so dry and hot, sweat evaporates instantly making its loss almost imperceptible. Do not wait until you start feeling thirsty to start replacing lost fluid. By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Your body can absorb only about one quart of fluid per hour. Drink one-half to one full quart of water or sports drink each and every hour you are hiking in the heat. Carry your water bottle in your hand and drink small amounts often. Provided by the National Park Service
Have adequate clothing
Clothing should be lightweight, light in color, appropriate pants and long sleeve shirt. Have a hat available to protect your head and neck from the sun. Have a good set of boots with non-slip soles if possible. NO TENNIS SHOES!
Know weather conditions
Keep in mind that the DESERT HAS EXTREME WEATHER, especially in fall and winter seasons, is that severe heat in the daylight hours and severe cold at night. People have ended up with hyperthermia in the desert because they were not prepared for the weather to change so drastically. So, if you are going to be in the area at such times, consider adding some cold weather survival gear.
Know your limitations
Try to always hike with at least one other person, some of us may hike alone at times and that is not a good idea. Knowing yourself and your hiking partner’s physical limitations while on a hike can help you stay safe. If you start feeling fatigued or ill, it’s alright for you to turn around and head back. Reaching that spectacular view or rock formation will still be there for next time, and don’t ignore what your body is telling you.
The old-fashioned compass is rapidly going way to the GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation. But compasses are still often cheaper and it's always a good idea for hikers to get familiar with one and how to use it. If you are going to use a GPS make sure you get waypoints and bring spare batteries. Make sure you bring an efficient map and not one that has been hand written. A good source to get waypoints for your hike is googleearth.com.