You can feel it in the air...Chandler's desert parks, and nearby mountain preserves are calling for exploration. Arizona has a reputation for offering excellent hiking, but it's important to be prepared and follow some basic safety guidelines before stepping out to enjoy the beautiful Sonoran desert.
Assess yourself - Don't push yourself and if you have a medical condition; asthma, heart conditions, back problems, knee pains, etc. - check with your health care provider before going out. Keep in mind, if you have a doubt whether you should climb a trail or mountain - DON'T! Many may think that the climb up is more difficult, but the climb down is always the most challenging. It's important to not exceed your normal level of physical activity.
Monitor the weather - Arizona's temperate climate can be deceiving due to its generally low humidity. Plan hikes for when the weather is cool in the early mornings or when early evenings bring more shade.
Dress appropriately - Be mindful of the terrain and climate and wear proper clothing and outdoor essentials:
- Lightweight and light colored clothes
- Proper shoes
WATER - This can't be said enough! Hydrate before you go and be sure to bring plenty of water; you will need more than you think. Drink constantly even if you do not feel thirsty and avoid caffeine and alcohol as these dehydrate the body. Another great tip - don't overindulge the day before on caffeine and alcohol.
Fuel up - Take a break and eat before you are hungry to replace electrolytes that you are sweating out. Granola bars are convenient and pack up nicely and taking periodic breaks five to seven minutes for every 30-60 minutes is a good idea to rest the body and take in the scenery.
Bring a friend - Team up and hike in groups of at least two and put slower hikers in front and pace the group to match that person.
Don't be a trailblazer - Follow designated trails to avoid injury and be aware of your surroundings.
Stay in contact - Plan your hike and make sure someone knows where you will be hiking and your estimated return. It's always a good idea to bring a cell phone.