How to stay safe if you’re hiking in warm weather
Summer is a great time to enjoy parks and reserves. Follow our tips to make sure you stay safe in the heat.
If you love being outdoors in summer, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a hike on a hot day – so long as you are fit and well prepared.
But remember, the park will still be there when the weather is cooler, so be sensible about whether to head out or take a raincheck.
If you’re inclined to go, here are some things you need to consider:
Check the fire danger ratings
Some parks and gardens, like Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, are closed on days of severe, extreme or catastrophic fire danger, and all national parks and reserves are closed on days of catastrophic fire danger.
Make sure you check fire danger ratings online with national parks, the CFS or the Bureau of Meteorology before you go. If in doubt, visit the closures and alerts page on the National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia website to check whether the park you plan to visit is open.
Plan your walk
Choose a hike that has a clear, easy-to-follow route and always stay on the trail. The national parks website lists distance, return time and level of difficulty for many hikes, and you will often find the same information signposted at trailheads.
Many parks have interactive maps available through Avenza Maps which you can download to your smartphone, and with GPS switched on you can see yourself as a moving blue dot on the trail.
Be aware that you may tire more quickly in the heat, so take that into consideration if you are considering a long walk.
Carry plenty of water
If you’re walking on a hot day, you’ll need to drink about a litre of water per hour to stay hydrated. Most parks don’t have drinking water available, so don’t count on being able to refill your bottle. Instead, make sure you bring enough water with you.
Always tell someone where you’re going, which trail you plan to take, and when you’ll be back – just in case.
It’s a good idea to carry your mobile phone for emergency calls too. Remember – phone reception will often be better at higher spots in the park.
A shady hat and sunblock are a must, but a shirt with long sleeves and a collar is a good idea for extra protection.
Be aware that snakes are more active in warm weather. If you see a snake, keep well away, stand still, and wait for the snake to move on. It will usually go on its way and be happy to let you go on yours.
Remember – most snake bites happen when people are trying to catch or kill a snake.
Have you ever thought about how native animals fare in warm weather? Here’s how you can help.
This story was originally posted in November 2017
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