Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Summer Hiking 101

August is the perfect time to go hiking in BC, the days aren’t as hot as July, the bug season has slowed down, snow will be clear on most of the day hiking routes, and the trails are the least muddy they’ll be all year. Plus, with the long summer days you have so many options for where you can go hiking because daylight is on your side. 

Whether you want to climb high peaks, chase waterfalls, or find the perfect quiet spot, the Lower Mainland has a trail for every type of hiker. But before you grab your camera and head out the door for your hiking adventure, there are a few things you might want to make sure you have before you go ...

Jug Island - Active KSA Hike

Before you go, take some time and plan your hiking route because missed turns or trail heads happens. Look at a map and get an idea of how the trail is going to look. Either take a physical copy of the map or save it to your phone (or GPS). Lots of trails are in areas where there is no service so you won’t be able to rely on Google Maps to help you out all the time. Also make sure you tell someone (who is not coming with you) where you’re going and when you should be back.

Always make sure to bring enough water for the warm summer months.  It can be even warmer in the mountains, and being without water can lead to dehydration. Snacks such as high protein granola bars and trail mix are light to carry but help out a lot when you get hungry. Also, if the worst happens and you get lost, you don’t want to spend a night with no food or water.

Rice Lake - Active KSA Hike

In the summer, it’s best to dress in layers of lighter clothing so that you can adjust to the temperature of the day. The biggest thing people forget is that in the evening it can still cool down a fair bit, especially in the mountains. 

Sunscreen is important to help avoid sun burns. There is a lot of talk about which SPF is the best to use, however in my personal experience, using SPF 30 and reapplying regularly is the best practice. Don’t forget your sunglasses, and bring a hat to help avoid possible sun or heat stroke. 

Lighthouse Park & Crystal Falls - Active KSA Hikes

5. GEAR 
There are a few essential gear items that you should always have with you when you go hiking: flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, fire starting tools (waterproof matches or lighter), a repair kit and tools, and an emergency shelter.

There is a lot of wildlife on the Lower Mainland hiking trails, and you may come across some of the bigger animals such as bears and cougars. Make sure you read up about what to do when you encounter larger wildlife. Also, packing a whistle and/or bear bangers is a good idea for any encounters.

Buntzen Lake - Active KSA Hike

Having Search and Rescue’s number is like having car insurance, you have it for the worst-case situation, but you hope you never need it. If you get lost, or if someone is injured, calling Search and Rescue is the best way to get help. It is FREE to call Search and Rescue for help in BC!

The hiking areas in the Lower Mainland have some stunning views that people come from around the world to see. Make sure you bring your camera to snap that amazing shot that will be perfect for your next Instagram post.

Killarney Lake & Lynn Canyon - Active KSA Hikes

And most importantly, have a great time, enjoy nature, and leave no trace behind so that the beauty we get to enjoy is preserved for years.

If you aren’t quite ready to get hiking on your own yet, come join me with Active KSA. We have two hikes coming up this August. Check them out at kusa.ca/activeksa.

I hope you have as much fun hiking as I do. Hope to see you on the trails!

- Tonya

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