What to Do When You Encounter Wildlife While Hiking

Coming into contact with wildlife is almost inevitable when hiking in remote places, but when one sees a potentially dangerous animal, there are certain steps to follow to keep safe. The hiker should remember to never approach or feed wildlife for the safety of everyone. The following list are some of the situations to avoid whenever possible to prevent a wildlife related accident.

-Not being loud enough while in the woods

-Getting too close to a mother bear with cubs

-Surprising an animal or getting to close

-Getting between n animals and its food source, especially dead carcasses

-Hiking in the dark

-Going off the designated trail

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Tips for a Safe Hike

When hiking with children, they should be close by and within sight. Hikers should let someone know where they’re hiking and an approximate return time . It’s important to make sounds constantly, especially when what’s ahead can’t be seen clearly. A hiker should always talk, shout and take loud steps while walking.

Be Aware of the Surroundings

A Hiker should look for signs of bears in the area, including droppings, scratch marks on trees and logs and paw prints. If a carcass is seen or smelled, it’s important to head the other direction and report the dead animal to the nearest ranger station.

What Hiker Should and Shouldn’t Pack

When packing snacks for a hike, dry snacks are best as they don’t have a strong smell. Sweet smells and even the smells of some deodorants and perfumes may attract a bear’s curiosity, so it’s best to wear unscented products and take unscented bug repellent and sunscreen. Pack as lightly as possible so that the pack and gear doesn’t have to be left behind. One should not take pets on hikes as the scent and sound of a smaller animal can attract forest predators.

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Other Important Information

Bikers and runners should focus on their surroundings to be sure the area is safe as the quick movements and nearly inaudible sounds of hiking or biking can alarm near by wildlife. Groups should always remain together for safety. When a camp is set up, it should always remain clean and everything should be removed upon leaving the area.Camp should be set up in designated camping areas and it’s important to always have a flashlight near by.

Animals traveling through campgrounds are wild and should not be approached. Food should be picked up and placed in an area where it cannot be reached by wildlife. All food and debris with food should be removed once the area is vacated. Most importantly, the ranger stations are there for assistance and it’s important that the local rangers are notified in the case of a nearby predator or a sick or injured animal.

 

How to Get Started Kayaking

Kayaks are lightweight and fairly portable, making them great way to seek adventure, even for those with little experience on the water. A kayak doesn’t require much effort to paddle and they can go in nearly any body of water, including the ocean, lakes and rivers. Once one learns to paddle and navigate in a kayak, it can take the adventurer many places that can’t be seen from dry land.

Make Plans

It’s always best to plan ahead before the first kayak adventure. Take the time to practice paddling and balance in calm water before venturing far from home. It’s best to practice in an area with little other traffic and no wind. The kayaker should be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and water temperature because capsizing is very likely on the first few tries and no one wants to risk hypothermia. When it’s time for a longer trip, check the weather daily and plan accordingly for wind and other conditions.

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Adjusting Your Boat

The boat should fit the body well and three points of contact should be maintained at all times. Adjust the seat until the small of the back is touching. Proper form involves sitting upright or even slightly forward. Foot pedals should be adjusted until the balls of the feet reach comfortably and keep a bend in the knees. The knees allow control of the boat while in the water and should remain in contact with the sides of the boat at all times. Be sure there is a snug fit in the boat, that still allows quick exit if needed.

The First Launch

Launching the kayak can be tricky so it should be done slowly until more experience is gained. the kayak should be placed in the water’s edge with the back end still slightly on land. Lay the paddle across it, concave side pointing up, with one side on shore for balance. Slide into the cockpit with one hand on the paddle and the other on the cockpit edge. Slide the feet forward, place the lower back against the seat and place the knees against the cockpit edge.

Learning to Paddle

The inexperienced kayaker should learn the forward stroke as it’s the basic movement in nearly any environment. The paddles should be used push the blade towards the body and then pushed away in even strokes. The torso also needs to move to increase power. Rotate your torso as you paddle for a stronger stroke that won’t strain the arms as much. Learning the most efficient way to perform the forward stroke can be done by observing another kayaker with experience.

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Important Information

One should always wear appropriate clothing for the climate and water temperature. Plan on getting wet and layer clothing as needed. It’s best to never go on paddling trips alone just in case of an emergency or accident. Most importantly, one should never go on a kayak adventure without basic safety equipment kit that includes a personal flotation device, a light, rescue gear and some form of communication.