Is your safety first…or second?

By Courtney DiFiore

The sun sits high in the sky all by its lonesome filling the air with a dry heat. Beads of sweat drip down my neck. I reach for my canteen only to be disappointed by its light weight. Where has all the water gone?! Perched on the top of Stratton Mountain, I moan about my lack of preparation, forgetfulness and my thirst.

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Does this sound familiar? If I’m going to hike, the last thing I want to do is load myself up with heavy bags. I’m the friend that bugs you to put her keys, wallet, phone etc. in YOUR bag that you thoughtfully brought. I can’t help it. I’m Italian, I need my arms free to talk…duh :) Okay, so obviously that doesn’t really count as a valid excuse but it is true that I like to have my arms free…and that I’m Italian (must be a coincidence). Anyway, the point is I choose comfort over practicality sometimes and that’s no good when it affects my safety.

“Safety? What does that have to do with having water?” said the interested reader of this blog.

Well interested reader of this blog, I’m glad that you asked that! Dehydration is dangerous and can cause both short and long term negative effects on your health. If hiking is on your agenda this summer, bringing plenty of water with you should be a priority. So take the time to pack the extra water. Let’s Be. knowledgeable this summer when it comes to safety.

Here are a few other tips when hiking Stratton (or other surrounding areas):

Warm up your muscles before your hike and cool down afterwards. Stretch!

Proper footwear is essential. Hiking boots are recommended.

Pack it in, pack it out! Please pack out all trash, leftover food and litter. Leave the mountain as you found it.

Respect the wildlife. Observe wild animals from a distance and do not follow, approach or attempt to feed.

Check the weather forecast before you go. In the event of a sudden storm be sure to lay low and move away from open fields and tall trees or objects (especially lift towers).

Don’t underestimate the mountain’s terrain. Know your limits. Always tell someone your route and destination and expected return time. Don’t hike alone.

Safe travels!

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