When I lived in Chandler, Arizona, I took advantage of every outdoor activity possible, including hiking. Why? Because the temperatures were warm and hot – I could be outside 7-days a week. Since I was new to Arizona, I didn’t pay much attention to hiking safety. I was too focused on exploring my new surroundings.
My favorite mountain park was and still is South Mountain Park. Thanks to the challenging Javalina Trail and sun, I’d work up a sweat and feel the burn in my legs, hips, butt, and thighs.
I admit that I hiked in 100+ degree temperatures. Why? Because most people wouldn’t hike in hot temperatures, so it felt as if I had the entire mountain to myself. Was it smart to hike when it was 114 degrees? Probably not – I got heatstroke. But it was my fault because I didn’t bring enough water, a rookie hiker’s mistake.
Please don’t be like me and get heatstroke, or worse die while on a hiking trail. Read on to learn hiking safety tips when you’re in the Phoenix, Arizona heat.
Top Hiking Safety Tips When You’re in the Phoenix Heat
Before you head out on the trails in Phoenix, Arizona, check out these hiking safety tips. Stay safe on the mountains!
Bring a Backpack Filled with Hiking Safety Essentials
Buy a backpack and fill it with essentials such as water (2-3 quarts per person), reusable water bottle, trail mix, energy bars (avoid the chocolate covered ones because they will melt), compass, map, and emergency hiking safety kit, which should include the following:
- First-aid kit.
- Small to medium flashlight with extra batteries.
- Colorful bandana.
- Poncho, in case it rains.
- Extra pair of sunglasses.
- Hand sanitizer and/or wipes.
Wear the Proper Clothing
You’ll need hiking boots and can buy a pair at stores such as REI, Dicks Sporting Goods, and others. You’ll also want to wear long pants. Why? Because you may encounter snakes, spiders, and other critters on the mountains and want to be covered. You may also want to wear a wicking t-shirt (keeps sweat at bay) or long-sleeve shirt. The latter may seem counter-intuitive, but long-sleeves will protect your arms from the sun. Don’t forget to wear a hat – protect your head from the sun.
Get a Hiking Buddy
Instead of hiking alone, make it a fun event. Call your best friend or get a group of family members and friends together. Why? Because in the event you should need help, you won’t be alone. Your friend or friends will be there to help you to safety.
Stay on Marked Trails
This should go without saying, but has to be mentioned: Stay on the marked trails! Venturing off the beaten is not a hiking best safety practice. Plus, it may cause you to damage cacti, plants, and the homes of animals. Plus, you may get lost.
Tell Someone Where You’re Going
Before you leave for your hike, call, email or text someone to let them know where you’re going. While you may feel that you’re an adult and no longer have to “check-in” with your mom and dad or siblings, it’s a good idea to let them know you’re hiking in the Phoenix heat. Check-in with them when you’re finished.
Know Your Limits
You may be tempted to prove to yourself and others that you can hike in the Phoenix, heat, but to quote Red Forman from That 70s Show, “Don’t be such a dumbass!” Your friends may enjoy hiking in the hot temperatures, but you can politely decline an invitation to hike 100+ degree temperatures. Remember, you don’t have to follow crowd.
Hiking Safety: Be Smart When Hiking in Phoenix, Arizona
There have been too many reports of people dying while hiking in the Phoenix heat. If you can’t handle the heat, stay indoors. If you’re vacationing in Arizona, you can hang out by the pool and go for a swim. Make sure you wear sun tan lotion and sunscreen.
Please take hiking safety seriously because it may save your life along with anyone else who may be with you, e.g., friends and kids.
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