If you find yourself on a hike in the hills, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Jason Brocar is an avid hiker and, in some circles, an expert. He’s hiked the Appalachian Trail and numerous others in his lifetime. With that experience comes the knowledge of how best to prepare.
“You have to understand the area that you’re going to hike,” says Brocar. “And without understanding the weather and the terrain then you don’t know what sort of equipment to bring. So, understanding where you’re going to be hiking is probably the best piece of advice I can give to anybody.”
Finding maps, tracing out your trail and becoming knowledgeable of the landscape are great ways to start off any hiking adventure. Also packing a sack or bag with what hiker and Cabela’s employee, Chuck Larson, calls the ten essentials, may not be a bad idea either.
“The big things you want to take,” says Larson. “It can be tweaked from here in the Badlands to anywhere else, but you want to have food, water, you want to have a flashlight, you know you may not plan on coming back after it gets dark but it does happen. You want spare clothes. You want to take probably a little bit more than what you think you’re going to need because if it gets wet – you definitely want to stay away from cotton. You want to have a map and compass -you need to know how to use them.”
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are also handy to have, particularly in areas with no cell service. Cabela’s sells GPS systems with a variety of functions, some of them having pinpointing systems that can alert Search and Rescue of your whereabouts in case of an emergency.
Both Larson and Brocar said that one common mistake they see hikers make is not paying attention to their own physical limitations.
If you choose to go out hiking -in any conditions – being over prepared can be better than under prepared.