6 Things to Avoid While Hiking This Summer

SnakeHiking in the summer can be a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous. There are a number of things that you have to avoid while hitting the trails in hot weather. So make sure that you stay safe this summer and avoid these 6 hiking mistakes.

There are three poisonous plants that are native to Arkansas – poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Each of these plants thrive here in the Ozarks. To make things even more difficult, the appearance of these plants can vary. One poison ivy plant might look different from another poison ivy plant.

How to avoid poisonous plants while hiking: 

  • “Leaves of three, let it be.” A good rule of thumb is to avoid touching plants with three separate leaves, as this is a trait shared by poison ivy, poison oak. Poison sumac on the other hand can have upwards of 9 leaves on a stem.
  • Stick to trails rather than bushwhacking through dense vegetation.
  • Wear protective clothing that covers your arms and legs. This can reduce your exposure to the toxic oils of these poisonous plants. Wash clothes immediately when you get home.
  • Shower immediately when you get home.

Snakes are another common trail bogey. Many snakes are harmless, and will typically avoid humans, but if you surprise a venomous snake, you could be in trouble.

How to avoid snakes while hiking:

  • Again, snakes will typically try to avoid humans. In most situations, a snake will retreat if they feel the vibrations of a hiker’s feet. However stay at a distance if you do come across a snake. Snakes strike quickly, and most bites happen when hikers are being a bother.
  • Avoid tall grass and hiking in areas where you can’t see your feet.
  • Where boots with ankle support or long pants for extra protection against snake bites.
  • Be careful when stepping over logs or walking through shaded areas.
  • Never reach in holes or under rocks without checking first.

Ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes are enough to make anyone swear off hiking in the summer.

How to avoid bugs (ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes) while hiking:

  • Wear long pants and long sleeves to reduce your exposure to insects.
  • Avoid wearing strong perfumes, cologne, or deodorants that could attract insects.
  • Avoid strong mints or candies.
  • Stick to the trails and steer clear of tall grass and over grown areas.
  • Wear insect repellent.

Everybody loves sunshine, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Sunburn is a real hiking danger.

How to avoid sunburn while hiking:

  • Wear a hat to protect your face, ears, and neck.
  • Sunglasses will help protect your eyes and make it easier for you to see.
  • Chap stick can prevent sunburn and help soothe dry, chapped lips.
  • Always, always, always wear sunscreen. Even if you don’t burn, sunscreen¬† protects your skin.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants, and wear clothing with a high UPF factor.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight if it can be avoided.

Thirst can kill. Make sure that you don’t get dehydrated while hiking.

How to avoid dehydration while hiking:

  • Avoid overexertion and try to avoid prolonged exposure to direct sun and heat.
  • Bring enough water.
  • Drink enough water. This should go without saying, but people often don’t realize just how much water they should be drinking while hiking.
  • Take every opportunity you get to fill up on water. This is especially true if you’re in an unfamiliar area.

Your dogs are sure to be barking at the end of a long summer hike. Just make sure you don’t get blisters.

How to avoid blisters while hiking:

  • Make sure that your shoes fit properly.
  • Keep your feet as dry as possible.
  • Wear a good pair of wool hiking socks.
  • Invest in a pair of sock liners.
  • If you feel a blister coming on, apply moleskin.

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