13. Hiking Safely & Other Good Ideas
While on your hiking adventure, safety is a shared responsibility, yours and ours! Through knowledge and experience we have established protocols that will likely keep you safe and injury free during your adventure. However, you must do your part to keep safe as well. You can do that by following the "8 Cardinal Rules" and the other items we have listed below.
Never hike alone.
When you're moving, look down. When you look up, stand still.
Do what the guides tell you. When in doubt, ask questions.
If you have a problem, tell your guide immediately.
Carry the proper amount of water & food.
Wear the appropriate boots. Bring all the gear you need. Use all you bring.
Don't horseplay. People who act like they're falling off a cliff, frequently do.
Bring sunscreen and any medicines you routinely use.
Here is additional information that will help keep you safe.
Check with your healthcare professional to be sure you are healthy from the start!
Prepare yourself physically for the hike. Beyond the occasional sore muscles, you should gauge how your own body feels while you train and especially during your hike. While training, if you suffer any injuries, early exhaustion, low endurance, or any recurring pain whatsoever see your healthcare professional. If you have prolonged sore knees or lower back pain it can spell chronic trouble. If you experience either of these in training, know that walking up and down steep grades are likely to exacerbate them. Have them checked out and under control BEFORE you hike.
Take it seriously! Prepare and train properly. Participate in the communication forums and reach out to other team members.
What causes the most medical situations?
Several items stand out. All are human caused. All are preventable. Yes! You are ultimately in control of what you think and do. There are three things you can do that will significantly reduce your chances of having a mishap during training hikes and adventure:
1) Make Your Plan. Stick With It!
Do not take your training lightly. It is important! As you train, measure your progress and determine if you should adjust your goals for your hike. When you meet your Conquer The Canyon Guide he or she will have an overview of what your goals are, but you should discuss with them any questions or problems you are having or if your plans have changed since arriving at the adventure site.
On Hike Day your personal plan should be determined by how you feel that day, the effectiveness of the training you have done, the amounts of food and water you have trained to carry, and the amount of time you can hike.
Exceeding these limits is dangerous. Remember: On Hike Day, you will have two plans: Your “safety plan” and your “medical plan.” If you follow the “safety plan” you will have a fun and exciting day. If you don’t follow the “safety plan,” you may end up using your “medical plan.”
2) Walking, Talking & Your Ego
Another simple safety concern is talking. When it comes to hiking safely and watching where you are going, it seems that talking is more dangerous than one would think. Much of the grandeur of the landscape you will walk by is silent solitude with only the sound of the wind or distant waterfall. Listen to it! Check your ego at the trailhead. This is not a race and there are no medals for time or distance. There are no MVP’s and no first or last place! The adventure is only about personal challenges for each individual. The reward is the successful completion of a physical, mental and emotional journey that began when you began your journey and set your sights on finishing a demanding personal conquest by Conquering The Canyon.
3) Plan To Hike As A Team
On Hike Day we will walk in small groups of 8 - 10 people each. You will hike as a team and as such, no-one will hike faster than the slowest hiker in the group. Be aware of all the other members you are hiking with and if you notice any type of behavior that may indicate they are having trouble of any kind, notify the guide immediately. Small problems on the trail can quickly escalate into life threatening situations, so keep an eye out for yourself and other team members.
Medical emergencies – The vast majority of mishaps involve lower leg injuries and dehydration. As discussed before, these injuries are frequently preventable. However, air medical transport is available but is very costly. Therefore any individual who requires medical transport will be responsible for this cost. We always recommend you purchase travel insurance.
Weather is always unpredictable. We will hike regardless, so be prepared for rain, wind and hopefully, brilliant sunshine. Bring the right gear. Note, the climate for this adventures is typically warm to hot. Rain can be a welcomed relief from the heat of the day, so heavy rain gear is not recommended.