Specific Dangers for Hikers
Experienced electrician Alan Courtemanche joined Standard Solar in 2015 and has served as a senior QA inspector. When he is not reviewing construction drawings or consulting with design engineers, among other responsibilities, Alan Courtemanche enjoys staying active through skiing and hiking.
There are several basic safety precautions hikers should follow to mitigate the chances of illness, injury, or an accident on the trail. That said, certain locations can present hiking enthusiasts with more specific challenges.
Avalanches, for example, are not a worry for hikers at Everglades National Park but should be a concern for any hiker taking on a snow-capped mountain. As is the case with any hiking expedition, preparations for hiking on a snowy mountain should include an up-to-the-minute understanding of local weather conditions, which may consist of avalanche forecasts.
Hikers should avoid hiking in overly snowy areas. An estimated 85 percent of avalanche victims triggered their avalanche. Avoiding avalanche-prone trails is the most effective way of avoiding an accidental avalanche-trigger situation.
Floods and flash floods are other environmental hazards hikers may need to be aware of. Floods are typically a seasonal threat brought on by storms, which can be predicted hours or even days in advance. Flash floods, of course, are less predictable.
Like avalanches, flash floods mainly involve avoiding trails that put hikers at increased risk. It can be helpful to hike during the dry part of the year on a day with no precipitation in the forecast. Even so, hikers should always be aware of uphill positions that can be taken in the event of a sudden flood.
Finally, rockfalls are comparable to avalanches but threaten any hiker who finds themselves near a mountain, rockwall, or similar formation. Many hiking trails post warnings about loose rocks. Like all trail signage, these warnings should be heeded. Weather conditions such as strong wind gusts and heavy rain can make rockfalls more likely.