Friday, 9 March 2012

March Break Hiking Safety Solutions

Welcome to March!

With March break, the highlight of most students’ spring, looming just around the corner, we wanted to take some time to discuss hiking safety in the snow and ice.

The Dufferin Hi-Land Bruce Trail is, of course, open to everyone during the March break, with regularly scheduled hikes taking place – for further information, see our Calendar page!  When visiting the trail, it is essential to take the weather conditions into consideration. As this winter has been unpredictably warm and then cold, you can expect that there will be snow and ice to contend with.

So especially for younger and inexperienced hikers, here are some safety tips to ensure everyone enjoys the trail safely and comfortably.

  • Use the right gear – make sure that you are wearing appropriate footwear for winter hiking. You’ll want hiking boots that are both warm and waterproof. These should not be the same pair of walking shoes you’d wear in the summer
  • Wear insulated layers – you’ll be warm while hiking but stopping for a break will find you cool if you aren’t dressed properly.
  • Try to pick sunny days that follow a storm – you’ll get the enjoyment of both the sun and the snow while it lasts
  • Carry a map and a flashlight – its best to know where you’re going, but you should always carry both, just in case. The last thing you want is to be caught in the dark, uncertain of where you’re going, especially in the shorter winter days
  • Pack water and use sun protection – even though it isn’t a sunny, hot, summer day, make sure to avoid dehydration and the harsh effects of the sun to get the most out of your hike
  • Hike with a group, or at least a friend – its best to have someone with you in case problems arise. An added bonus is the company and bonding that you’ll enjoy on your hike. If you have to hike alone, or insist upon it, make sure to let someone know where you’ll be in case of emergencies
  • Bring a cell phone – a fully charged cell phone is a great tool to bring with you. It’s lightweight, the camera ensures you can capture the best winter scenes and will be invaluable should an emergency arise.
  • A solid walking stick, or two hiking poles, with a sharp point is very helpful when negotiating steep ice covered paths frequently found in woods during the early spring.
We could go on about the tips for winter hiking for days, but these are some that we feel are essential for an enjoyable day on the Bruce Trail. For additional tips and tricks to make the most of the icy or snowy trails, you can check out:

Be safe and enjoy the trails this March Break!

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