JANUARY 20, 2016

Hiking prep important for locals, visitors

Editor note: Although this is written specifically for those planning to hike the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve, this is good information for anyone planning a hike in the desert and outlying foothills.

January’s special events bring an influx of visitors and locals to the abundance of hiking trails available in the City. “Concern is high as inexperienced hikers may find themselves in precarious condition if they have over-estimated their hiking abilities and preparation,” says Operations Division Chief Mark DeBruyckere.

The following tips are offered to ensure experience at the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve and other trails in the City is a healthy one:
· Hike with a buddy
· Begin hydrating the day before your hike
· Have enough water for yourself and pet(s) you bring
· Bring a charged cell phone
· Wear sensible shoes: hiking boots or tennis/gym shoes
· Wear a hat and sunglasses 
· Tell friends where and when you are going and when you expect to return
· Know your location and the closest trailhead

And don’t let our 70-80 degree temps fool you, cautions DeBruyckere. Many of the emergency calls Scottsdale firefighters go on during this time of year through Spring Training are heat-related illness.  It is not recommended to plan an active hike the day after a long night of celebrating. Know your fitness level and choose your hike accordingly. Significant hydration prior to the hike and proper clothing will help reduce the risk of heat stress.

For more safety tips, visit www.scottsdaleaz.gov.