When in the Wild: Tips to Stay Safe in the Wilderness

Nature offers effortless therapy; all you need is to go out to experience it yourself. Do you know that staring at nature scenes on your computer monitor can already give the same therapeutic effects? This can prove helpful for people living in big cities. At least, they too can only be one step away from peace and calm and not have to take hour-long trips to the countryside now and then to get some peace of mind.

Everyday stresses can accumulate and feel so overwhelming that a bit of time to escape from it all is a luxury. But nature will always be there to give people clarity, fix their well-being, and help improve their overall health. While many can stare at their screens for many hours, they will always crave the experience of breathing fresh air. Often, many need the absolute quiet to help them reset their minds.

Hiking: A Quick Release from Everyday Life

While not many can afford to take long vacations, there is one quick and easy way to experience the wonders of nature—hiking. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans went to experience the real outdoors, away from the stresses of life. All across the country, there are many hiking sites you can choose to go. Many prefer national parks for the hiking trails. Still, others want to experience nature farther than what the hiking trails can offer.

Within the trails or not, the fact that you are in a national park means you have 360 degrees of wilderness at any step. However, as with anything, the wilderness has different risks. You’ll have to keep your guard against dangerous wildlife, prepare for extreme weather, bring water treatment devices, and even take extra measures in case you slip on the trail. This is not to turn you off from experiencing the excitement of hiking but to emphasize how much your safety weighs above everything else when trying to enjoy the wilderness. With that in mind, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

Tell Others Where You’re Going

If you decide to go alone, make sure you let others know where you are and when should you get back. Make sure to inform others what equipment you’re bringing, your car model or plate number, original trail or backup route, and the time and date of your return. These will help them report authorities immediately if you don’t get back at the specified time.

However, for your safety, it’s much better to hike with a group.

For instance, one or more can stay when one member is hurt while two or three others can look for help. If you should pick companions, choose those who know the area well. Locate the nearest ranger station or telephone before you or your group start to make sure you can immediately get help during emergencies.

man holding first aid kit

Bring a First Aid Kit and Know How to Really Use It

Your first aid kit should include bandages and over-the-counter painkillers. You can never be wrong with being prepared as bears can wander around, some areas can be slippery, and the list of potential risks is endless. Before your hiking trip, it’s even best that you take EMT classes and testing so that you can adequately tend for yourself or your companions in case of emergencies.

Other items to add to your first aid kit are an antihistamine, antidiarrheal, antibiotic cream, antiseptic pad for wound cleaning, sunscreen, ACE bandage, tweezers, scissors, SAM splint for field-dressing fractures, hand sanitizer, and your medication. If you’re hiking in a group, bring some extra items of each.

Carry Bear Spray

With a reduced habitat, bears can lurk anywhere in the wilderness. The most effective and humane way to stop them from attacking you is to use bear spray. Practice at home first in case you need that for a quick draw. There are sprays available in the market with the permitted strength of potent capsaicinoids with a range of 30 feet and more.

Mind Your Footing

Especially when you’re near cliffs, take extra care with each step. You should stay in solid and dry areas, so you don’t slip. Take your time to check before stepping anywhere. You’ll never know if there are slippery parts hidden by leaves, low-hanging branches, etc. Don’t drink alcohol too. Alcohol consumption can significantly reduce your balance, agility, and judgment—all of which can help you stay safe in the wilderness.

Everyone wants that sense of thrill and adventure that nature offers. However, make sure you’re prepared, tell others where you’re going, and, when the situation calls for it, head back and find proper help.

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