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Hiking Safety
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Hiking in Hawaii, an experience to remember, but using some common sense can go a long way in preventing serious injury or worse. If you're new to Hawaii or not an experienced hiker make sure you hike with someone who knows the trail.

Hiking alone or not knowing the terrain can lead to serious consequences. You should have an idea on how long the hike will take. Say for instance you're doing a ridge hike. If it takes six hours to complete a hike and you start your hike at 2:30p.m. that means you will be hiking in the dark. You should start your hike in the morning like say 8 or 9a.m.

Another thing to keep in mind is provisions. Make sure you take enough food and water to sustain yourself on the trail. Hikers get themselves in trouble when they don't take enough water and end up getting dehydrated and overheating their bodies.

Rain gear is another thing to consider. Nothing is worse than being on a mountainous terrain and getting caught in rainstorm. You run the risk of hyperthermia. Also, when hiking in rainy weather, the trail becomes muddy and that can lead to other problems. The risk of slipping and/or falling is very real. Especially on very steep terrain the danger intensifies. You could easily fall off the trail and even over the edge.

You should also wear proper attire. A good pair of hiking shoes or boots is a must. No tennis shoes. Hiking boots gives you a lot of ankle support, so you're less likely to twist an ankle when scrambling over rocks. Speaking of rocks, be mindful of slippery rocks when attempting to cross a stream, or hiking on a muddy trail. I've seen a hiker fall off a slippery rock, land awkwardly and break her wrist. I had to escort her all the way down the mountain because she could not use her right arm.

It's wise not to use ropes that have been left by other hikers. You have no idea how well the rope has been fastened or how old the rope is. If you have to use the rope, don't rely on it heavily. In other words, don't put your full weight on that rope.

Do not swim in streams or rivers. You could contract leptospirosis. a very dangerous bacteria.

Wearing light colored clothes is better than dark clothes. For one thing it makes you more visible, especially in a rain forest. Dark clothes tend to heat you up. You sweat a lot more in dark clothing and lose precious body fluids.

It's also a good idea to check the weather report, like NOAA, to make sure you're hiking in good weather. It just makes for a more pleasant hiking experience.

Carrying a cell phone is a good idea. In case of emergencies you can call 911. It all depends where you're hiking. You might not get a signal, especially if you're hiking in, let's say, a gorge.

Proper preparation and using common sense go a long way in making your hiking experience a pleasant one.

Street Talk

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