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Trip Planning

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Here are some tips from our friends at Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue Team:

 A little planning goes a long way

 Many of the problems that result in rescues are due to lack of planning. Hikers might do enough preparation to set their sights on a goal, but then underestimate the effort and time it will take to reach a destination and get back safely. Asking key questions and bringing essentials such as water, snacks, and a headlamp can help prevent common issues such as dehydration or fatigue-related injuries.

Shallow does not mean safe

 The majority of injuries that occur on trails, while sometimes painful, are rarely life-threatening. Most serious incidents happen when people leave trails — and water is the top cause of accidental death in the Forest. Most water-related injuries and deaths often start in shallow water, where a simple slip can result in being swept into a swift current or over a waterfall.

Preparation Checklist

  • What's the goal of my hike? What do I want to see and do?
  • How do I get to the trailhead or parking area?
  • How many miles will I be hiking, including the return trip, and what is the total elevation change?
  • What altitude will I reach? Do I need to add in some time to acclimate? 
  • What's the weather forecast?
  • Do I have the right supplies? Be sure to bring essentials such as a map and compass, first aid kit, sunscreen, warm layers, broken-in footwear, a flashlight or headlamp, and adequate water and food.
  • A quart or liter of water for every 2-3 hours of physical activity, and easily digestible salty snacks to replenish what you lose through sweat is recommended.
  • Back to the beginning: What is my goal?
    • Based on the mileage, altitude, elevation change and weather, is it still realistic?
    • If not, pick a new adventure!
  • Once you're set on a plan, share your itinerary, along with a description of your vehicle, your route, and your expected return date, with a friend or family member.
    • The more information you leave behind, the easier it will be for the SAR crew to help you if something goes wrong.