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Expert Tips for Safe Summer Hiking

by Nicole Dorsey Straff

Summer hiking tips to make the most of your time in the outdoors:

summer hiking

It’s that hot weather time of year when you should be on guard and aware of several safety features not only in and around the Los Angeles Canyon areas where I love to hike, but in many urban city parks, overgrown country lanes and myriad dark, windy roads where cars and bicycles don’t even see you coming without reflective gear.

Beware of these summery, outdoor exercise hazards:

1) Foot and ankle injuries. I’ve sprained my ankle twice in the last few years: Once I twisted it on a New York City sidewalk sprint, and then again during an off-road trail run in the Santa Monica Mountains. Both times hurt like crazy, thanks very much. Since I’ve switched to hiking in eco-conscious Ahnu shoes, I definitely hike with added ankle support and heel sturdiness. I also choose to hike and run in Anhu Footwear because the company and its business partners disclose environmental impacts and activities through regular reporting, greatly reduce (or eliminate) hazardous substances from their products, and also minimize use of prized natural resources like energy and water when making their apparel and shoes. (Pssst: I love the sneakers but you must admit the ballet flats and the sporty flip-flops are pretty cute, too.)

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2) Snapping baby rattlesnakes. The babies snap at everything on the trails across the Pacific Northwest in May and June, according to the U.S. National Park Service.  To avoid unpleasant encounters on the trails, keep your eyes and ears open. Rattlesnakes generally “wake up” from their hibernation-like state in early May, and remain active into early November, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Follow this advice should you encounter a rattlesnake:

• Keep your distance. Rattlesnakes can strike only a distance that’s equal to roughly half their own length.

• Watch where you step or reach with your hands, and the same goes for your dogs. Keep them on a leash during your most rugged hikes until it’s safer in November. (Not worth it, folks.)

• Stand still if you think you hear a snake. Locate the snake with your eyes and then smoothly move away.

3) Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that all outdoor exercisers should always spray insect repellent and remove ticks promptly to reduce your chances of catching the serious tick-borne disease. After a near-invisible bite from a black-legged tick, you should be on high alert for telltale Lyme disease symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue and a circular skin rash. If you’re treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of the disease, you’re likely to recover completely. In later stages, response to treatment may be slower, but the majority of people with Lyme disease recover completely with appropriate care.

Stay safe on your strolls and be sure to try my eco-friendly, Fair Trade new hikers!

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