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Trailing a Safe Hike

Reported death of hiker stresses safety on trails

Published on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 | 3:19 pm

One of the greatest perks of living in the Pasadena area is its close proximity to nature areas. With a series of hiking trails, flowing creeks and other forms of outdoor recreation readily accessible to local residents, the urge to take advantage of such resources is tempting.

However, taking advantage of the area’s vast array of outdoor recreational activities can be both a pleasurable and dangerous experience, especially in light of the recently reported death of a 21-year-old man while hiking with a companion near the Eaton Canyon Nature Center on Tuesday morning.

While details were not released by authorities or witnesses as to how the man reportedly fell more than 100-feet to his apparent death, there are some pointers outdoor enthusiasts should keep in mind each time they take on their favorite trail.

In light of Tuesday’s tragedy, Pasadena Now spoke with Chuck Haznedl of the Eaton Canyon Nature Center about how best to prepare for your next hiking adventure and what you should do to minimize harm should something occur while on the trail.

Dress the Part

There are a few things hikers should prepare in advance of their planned excursion, such as wearing the proper footwear along with light clothing. The shoes you wear should be ideal for hiking or long walks, Hazendl said.

Buddy System

Sometimes, just telling someone where you plan to hike is the best policy, especially if the are not going with you.

“The important thing is to know where you are going and to tell someone who is not going with you what trail you will be on,” Haznedl said. “That way, if something happens, someone knows where you are and can retrace your steps.”

Two to Tango

In addition, Haznedl advised that traveling in pairs is always recommended, just for added safety and assistance Hiking alone, especially on longer trails, is not recommended.

Common Sense

He also said hikers should exercise common sense when actually on the trail, such as staying on path and not exploring into unchartered territory.

“Find out where the trails are and how they are designed,” Haznedl added. “Some are paved and wide, others are just one-foot wide. Know where you are going.”

Liquids and Solids

Haznedl added hikers should take plenty of water on the journey, especially if it will be an extended excursion. Along those lines, food is also recommended for longer hikes.

Make That Call

If you encounter trouble while on the hike, a cell phone is always handy, especially if there is reception, according to Haznedl.

Hand Signals

Though, there are times when even technology cannot be of assistance. In such circumstances, Haznedl recommended carrying a non-breakable piece of reflective metal or a mirror, especially if you are hiking on a sunny day. This way, if the hiker is in distress, he or she can use the mirror or reflective metal in combination with the sun to send a signal for help.

Ultimately, all hikers should be as prepared as possible and always exercise common sense to minimize injuries when exploring the area’s hiking trails.

The above information is basic information for anyone seeking to explore the local outdoors. Stay tuned to Pasadena Now for how to safely enjoy the actual trail.

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