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Fall hiking safety tips you need to know

Posted at 9:55 AM, Oct 23, 2020

Fall is here and many Utahns are heading to the mountains right now, for hunting or hiking to take in those stunning fall colors.

But just like hiking in the summer, fall hikes can be dangerous. Rescue crews are often called in to help save lost or injured hunters or hikers.

Allie Henderson from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says one of the most important things to know when it comes to hiking safety is your ability - and don't overdo it.

Henderson says, "Generally there's two things to consider when choosing a hike. The length and then the distance and the elevation gain. Start slow, just have fun. And then kind of figure out where you're at. Then you can increase intensity from there."

Henderson says there are a few things you can also do to physically prepare. "Ankle strength is really important. That’s one of the most common injuries while hiking - sprained or rolled ankles. And so doing some single leg balance holds or some squat jumps can do some really good work to help make sure your ankles are prepared for that rough terrain."

And don't forget to bring food and water. "When you’re packing some snacks to bring, you want to look for things that are filled with carbohydrates, salts and protein."

Henderson says trail mix, jerky or dried fruit are good options. Also, protein, energy or granola bars. But most importantly, do not forget H20.

"You want about half a quart of water per hour that you plan on hiking. So that’s the equivalent of 16 ounces, or a plastic water bottle," says Henderson.

Safety on a trail is also a concern, so team up and go hiking or hunting with a friend.

"If you are going to go alone, make sure you let someone know your itinerary, where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Just to make sure if anything does happen, they can look out for you," says Henderson.

Good shoes are a must, and you'll want to bring along a first aid kit just in case. Plus, in this pandemic a mask may also be needed if you think you'll be in close contact with people from outside your household.

Winter is just around the corner, so now is the time to gear up and get out to enjoy all the beauty fall in Utah has to offer.