If you’re putting on the pack and heading out for your first hike ever or the first hike of the season, or hello its Colorado and you’re on your millionth hike, here are some safety tips.

Many people hit the trails and ‘not- so’ trails in the warmer weather here in Colorado and the Larimer County Sheriff’s department says in a release today that many emergency situations could be avoided with some simple precautionary steps.

Hiking safety rules:

  1. Tell someone where you are going. A general plan and when you plan on being back and stick to your plan as best as possible. If you have a last minute change in plans leave a note on the driver side dash or better yet call or text 2-3 people of the change in plans.
  2. Pack safety equipment such as a first aide kit, flash light and matches-a warm blanket would be helpful too, it may be 75 in the daylight hours but the further you head up the colder the nights will get.
  3. Don’t forget rain gear, the weather in Colorado can change quickly-a change of clothes might be helpful too.
  4. It would be a good idea to carry a map of the area and a compass with you, remember in the mountains a lot of our fancy equipment these days just won’t work when you are deep in the woods/mountains.
  5. Kind of goes along with the last safety rule, but don’t rely on your cell phone. You may or may not be able to get a text out.
  6. Avoid “short-cuts”, the Larimer County Sheriff’s office says that many of these alternate routes actually end up taking longer. I say its also a sure fire way to get lost.
  7. Don’t trust the water, even the cleanest looking water can carry Giardia, causing diarrhea, stomach cramps and nausea. Use a filter or boil your water.
  8. Take only pictures-leave only footprints, don’t leave trash behind.  May not seem like a safety tip, but you could “just” be helping the environment or you could be deterring wildlife from coming into your camp.
  9. If you should get lost, stop walking! Find a tree to hug. Find safe ways to draw attention to yourself. Put on brightly colored clothing, yell and shout, if your cell phone works dial 911, but don’t waste time calling friends and family, this may drain your battery. Build a fire and wait for help. Again, do not leave your location.

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