Hiking tips

Hiking tips for hitting Phoenix trails this holiday weekend

There are do’s and don’ts. Phoenix Fire Captain Todd Keller wants you to know.

PHOENIX – Hiking a mountain trail in the valley is a must for many Phoenicians this holiday weekend.

The people of the valley have family members in town to celebrate the holiday, some for the first time. However, inexperienced hikers have the most problems, so there are some do’s and don’ts. Todd Keller, Phoenix Fire Captain wants you to know.

“At least once a week we go on a mountain rescue,” he said.

Captain Keller doesn’t want the next reason he has to fly a helicopter on a trail to be an easily avoidable hiking incident. Here are five things you can do to make sure you don’t have to be rescued:

1) Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet

COVID-19 is still spreading rapidly in the Valley, and the CDC has always said that one of the best ways to protect yourself is social distancing.

“Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms) away from other people outside your household in indoor and outdoor spaces.” the CDC website said.

Captain Keller agrees and says you have to be careful inside and out.

“You know, a lot of people don’t think it plays if it’s not in a restaurant or in a bar, but we also recommend and advise you to keep your distance on the trails,” Keller said.

2) Be sure to dress for the weather and wear sunscreen

“It can be 75 degrees, but 60 minutes or 90 minutes in direct sunlight is going to cost you,” he said.

He also recommended wearing a hat, light-colored clothing, and proper footwear.

The National Parks Service (NPS) lists both sun protection and insulated hiking clothing as two of the “10 essentials” people should bring when visiting a trail or park. You can see the 10 essentials on their site here.

3) Stay hydrated

Hydration is key on the trails, especially in “dry heat” country.

“If you’re thirsty, it’s already too late. So hydrate before, hydrate during, and hydrate after, Keller said.

The NPS agrees with Keller, as it also listed water and water treatment supplies as one of the 10 essentials, saying that “if you are active outdoors (hiking, biking , running, swimming, etc.), especially in hot weather, you should drink water often and before you feel thirsty.”

Are you going to a national park? Be sure to pack all 10 essentials! The 10 Essentials is a collection of first aid and emergency items that can help you with minor injuries, sudden changes in the weather, or unexpected delays. The 10 Essentials are just the basics you should have with you.

4) Know your limits

the American Hiking Society says hiking should test a person’s limits, but only up to a point. Knowing your limits, whether it’s fitness or medical conditions, is important before hitting the trails.

“Make it a round trip,” he said. “If you’re feeling tired, if you’re dizzy, turn around…it’s not going to get better then.”

Bring a phone and bring a friend, but if you’re going alone, always let someone know where you’re going. This is especially important if you are going somewhere without cell reception.

5) Respect the rules of the trail

“Don’t go off the designated trails. They’re there for a reason,” Keller said. “There can be loose rock, and that’s where you’re going to get fall injuries.”

If you don’t follow the track rules?

“We’ll probably have to come and visit you,” he said. “The goal is for you to have a safe and fun hike and enjoy your day.”