Tips to Keep Safe While Hiking this Summer
Lynchburg, VA - They're alive and well, but not after spending days lost out in the summer sun in Wyoming. Wyoming officials say a couple from Lynchburg was rescued after four days of hiking.
Their story is one of luck and survival. But would you know what to do, if you were lost, unprepared, or trapped out on the trail?
It's easy to assume when you leave the house for a day hike, you'll be back in a few hours. But the trail can play tricks, and you never know when that day hike will turn into a test of survival.
Mike Mitchell is a lifelong hiker. He's a Boy Scout troop leader, and has logged thousands of miles of trekking trails.
"For most people that just start off wanting to hike and just wanting to walk, they think it's a flat level walk in the park and it turns out to be an ordeal in the mountains" said Mitchell.
He says the number one mistake when heading out on a hike, is a lack of preparedness.
"Need a map, to familiarize yourself with the area, need to prepare to stay outdoors all day, maybe even overnight" he said.
Do your hiking homework. Don't head out without a trail route in mind. Plot it out on a map, and have definitive start and finish points.
"We try to educate the guys not to carry any more than a quarter of their body weight" said Mitchell.
Also, know your physical limits. Don't go on a weekend hiking excursion if you can barely make it up the driveway.
"These are all things that can help you survive throughout the night" pointed out, Andrea Futrell, the owner of Outdoor Trails in Lynchburg.
We caught up with Futrell to show us some of the top selling essentials for any backpacking trip.
"Make sure that you have plenty of hydration, food and energy supplements, fire starting material, in case you get stuck at night you have a way to start a fire, a head lamp for the same reason" she said.
A first-aid kit, and the right shoes she says a critical as well. All said and done, with the right pack, she says it'll cost you.
"You can get all of this for around $200" said Futrell.
A price well worth paying if it means it'll save your life. Another tip, especially for novice hikers is don't test your luck, stay on the trail. They're marked for a reason, and if you stick to them, you can almost always guarantee you'll make it home at the end of the day.