Hike Safely In Colorado This Fall
September 30, 2016 | Safety Information
As summer comes to a close and the leaves start changing colors, the holiday season is almost upon us—but hiking season isn’t over. Don’t forget about all of the great hiking trails Colorado has to offer—not just during the summer, but during all seasons. Hiking is a perfect way to exercise while spending time with friends and family. However, it’s important to be careful while exploring Colorado’s beautiful trails.
Hiking is the third most dangerous outdoor activity. Because Colorado offers year-round hiking options, it’s important to learn how to avoid injuries. Here are five common dangerous hiking injuries and how to prevent them.
Blisters: Are your shoes rubbing you the wrong way? It seems that no matter what precautions you take, blisters are inevitable. It’s easy to ignore them as they’re developing and only take real notice when you’re experiencing extreme discomfort. Treat your blisters before they even form—when your shoes are rubbing up against your feet or turning your skin red. This is where blisters will eventually appear. If you take the time to protect those “hot spots ” (wrapping them in hiking tape or applying a Band-Aid to the affected area), you’ll prevent painful blisters that can quickly ruin a fun hike.
Sprains: Hiking trails are comprised of curvy, steep paths. You’ll often step on uneven ground, where it’s easy to roll or sprain your ankles. Wearing good, supportive footwear can help (some hikers swear by tall hiking boots), but the best way to prevent sprains is to watch your step, and avoid big rocks and tree roots. If you do suffer a sprain, use the RICE method: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Sunburn: Many dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen even when it’s overcast, for protection from dangerous UV rays which can cause skin cancer and wrinkles. But when you’re hiking, it’s easy to forget to apply sunscreen, especially during the fall when the sun isn’t as bright and the heat not so intense. Even if the weather’s cool and cloudy, sunscreen can still protect you from the elements and prevent sunburn, which besides being painful, can have serious consequences. Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin and, if you’re particularly sensitive to the sun, it’s a good idea to wear long sleeve clothing and hats.
Tick Bites: Though more prominent in the summer months, tick season still continues throughout September. To avoid tick bites, stay away from tall grass and bushes and apply plenty of DEET-heavy bug spray. Long sleeve shirts and long pants create a tick-proof barrier for your skin. Once you’re done with your hike, take a shower or bath and inspect your body for ticks.
Fatigue: If you’re going on a short two-mile hike, you generally don’t have to worry about fatigue. But if you’re going on a long hike or staying outdoors for days at a time, remember that fatigue is a very real thing. Just like drowsy driving, if you’re tired, you generally won’t make the same choices you would if you were at your peak energy level. You don’t have the same reaction time—and this lack of energy can lead to injury. So when you’re hiking, don’t overdo it. If you’re feeling tired, take some time to rest and rehydrate. Eat a snack and make sure you’re replenished and ready to get back on the trail.
As the weather gets cooler, many people still love to spend time outside. Keep minor injuries from becoming major ones by stopping and assessing your situation if you notice discomfort. Pay attention to your body and avoid pushing yourself to the point of pain so you can take advantage of Colorado’s beautiful hiking trails again in the future.
If you or someone you know were injured during an outdoor activity, an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights and discuss your options for recovering the compensation you deserve.