Summer is in full bloom, which means most of us are spending more time out of doors and enjoying the beautiful weather! Much like the other seasons, summer comes with its own challenges and that is why we invite you to an extra helping of mindfulness. If you are thinking ‘wait a second, how can that even be possible? Summer is never challenging,’ hear us out: summer means fun but it’s even more fun when we are mindful.
- Warm weather. When a heat wave strikes, our bodies need a bit of time to adjust. Hydration is important, and so is protecting your body from intense heat. While good quality sunscreen has its merits, keep in mind that sweat and water exposure can minimize its effects. If you have to be out in the sun in midday for whatever reason (ideally you should be indoors when the day is at its hottest) choose to wear a hat, and light clothing that provides coverage and protection against the sun. If you hike with your dog, be aware that dogs can overheat a lot faster than humans. Make sure you stop in a shady spot while on a hike, offer water and stop at the first signs of heat exhaustion.
- Equipment. If you are like most people, you will find yourself ready to hit the trails as soon as the weather turns warm. As it happens, warm weather makes us think sandals or light sneakers instead of hiking boots, which could mean a sprained ankle and inability to move. Invest in a good pair of hiking boots that will not your feet overheating, some good socks and feel free to stop along the way to take a break and air out your feet. Stability matters. Same goes for clothing: warm as it may be, weather can be finicky and it can change suddenly on the mountain. Always carry an extra layer with you in case you get stuck somewhere or you are running behind. Speaking of which…
- Plan wisely. If you are heading out for a hiking trip by yourself – not advisable, or with friends, let someone else know where you will be headed and what time you are planning to be back. Do not rely solely on your GPS for orientation; make sure you get a map and compass as well and you understand the terrain with all its possible challenges. Winter may be behind us, but there is still snow on the mountains. Temperatures can vary, hence the need to have appropriate equipment. As a ‘must-have’ pack, here is a list that North Shore Rescue advises hikers to take along:
- Fire-making kit
- Signaling device (whistle)
- Extra food and water
- Extra clothing (warm)
- Pocket knife
- Emergency blanket/shelter
- First-aid kit
- Sun protection
- Navigation/communicational devices (GPS, map & compass, satellite communication device, cell phone)
- Stay safe. An important piece of advice from our team: keep your hands free when you hike, save for hiking/walking stick if needed. That means no phone too. If you want to take photos, stop and do that, then put your phone away. If your hands are occupied, you risk injuring yourself if you trip or slip, both a regular occurrence with hikers given the terrain. Also, stay within bounds, no matter how tempting the selfie opportunity. No short moment of internet fame is worth getting injured for (or even losing your life.) The same applies for wildlife encounters. Keep your distance, no matter how tempting the photo opportunity.
Another important safety advice from North Shore Rescue Volunteers: If the route proves too difficult, make the wise decision to head back early. Also, though it may seem obvious, it is worth repeating: stay together as a group. Some people may move slower than others, so a bit of planning can take care of that. No one should be left behind, even for a short while. Accidents can happen quickly and that includes getting lost. It is best to have a ‘what if’ scenario discussed ahead of time.
Enjoy the summer! Keep active, keep happy and make the most of every moment. See you out there!Tags: first aid, hiking, injury, safety, summer