"Summer time, just around the corner, is a popular time to enjoy a hike," said Jennifer Mott, RN, an avid outdoor enthusiast and Emergency Department Nurse at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital.
"Hiking is a wonderful outdoor activity for families. It’s great exercise that can also offer an opportunity to teach your children about wildlife and nature. There are numerous nature trails in our local area and throughout New England that provide unforgettable views of our unique landscape. Whether you decide to take a short, scenic stroll or plan an extensive hiking adventure a safe hiking outing requires some planning," Mott said.
Tips for hiking safely
She offered some hiking guidelines for a peaceful, safe and beautiful day without a visit to the Emergency Room:
- Plan your hike ahead of time, account for changing weather conditions, and consider your group’s fitness level when choosing a route.
- Tell someone where you are going and what time you will return. That way, if you become lost or someone is injured; your family will know where to look for you.
- Stay together and stay on the trail.
- Know your limits! If the weather deteriorates or someone in your group is overtired, do not hesitate to turn back earlier than you planned.
- Bring water and food, even if you are only going out for a few hours. A quart of water per person for every two hours of activity is recommended.
- Dress appropriately, wear good hiking shoes or sturdy sneakers, never flip flops! A sprained ankle will surely spoil your day.
- Some hikes require extra tick-prevention measures. Learn more information about ticks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Bring a first aid kit in your backpack. Include adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, an elastic bandage to hold a splint, and Tylenol or other pain medicine as the minimum supplies.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Be alert for bears and other wildlife, and know what to do if you encounter one. They are becoming more common in our area!
- Don’t count on cell phones to work in the wilderness, but if they do, be able to give details about your location including which trailhead you started from and how long you’ve been hiking.
"Plan ahead for a safe hike and enjoy all of the beautiful local hiking opportunities in our area including the Rock House Reservation in West Brookfield or the trails at the Quabbin Reservoir. Once you become experienced, consider my recent favorite, a hike to the highest point in Massachusetts, Mt. Greylock, located in the Berkshires," Mott said.