Warmer temperatures mean more people will be taking advantage of the many hiking trails that snake throughout Riverside County.
Although most hikes are without incident, some people find themselves in trouble.
Law enforcement officials recommend that hikers carry proper equipment and have a well thought out plan.
“Proper preparedness includes a well thought out travel plan shared with friends and family,” Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy Albert Martinez explained. “This includes familiarity with common hiking equipment, GPS, maps and compasses.”
Many things can pose problems and the key to a fun and safe hiking excursion is to have a plan.
Weather, snakes, mountain lions, bears, getting lost and falling are just some examples of things that can create hazardous conditions.
The Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit advises people to tell someone exactly where they are going before heading out to hike. They also recommend hikers tell a friend or family member to call the Sheriff’s Department or 911 if they are late returning.
According to the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit website, it’s important to bring a whistle, signal mirror, cell phone, matches and a flashlight when hitting the trails as a precaution.
Weather can change rapidly and Cal Fire Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson emphasizes the need to be ready in case inclement weather blows in.
“Always have enough supplies to adapt to the weather,” she said.
She also said it is critical to know your abilities.
“Don’t overestimate those abilities or underestimate the terrain or skills needed for a particular area,” she explained. “Accidents and delays can happen so be prepared for those situations.”
Hutchinson also said many people are not acclimated to either the temperatures or elevations that can put extra stress on a body causing them to move slower or quickly become overheated, dehydrated or overcome by the cold.
“Your body reacts to heat and cold stress rapidly and people often become disorientated and confused much quicker than they realize which puts them at risk for getting lost, injured, disorientated and can exacerbate existing medical conditions,” she added.
Stephanie D. Schulte is a writer/photographer with SWRNN. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.