Many of us are hitting local trails and open spaces this summer as a way to escape the quarantine blues.
Hiking is one of those activities that is free and fun, but there are some hazards that we should all be aware of before heading out on our next adventure.
Hiking Hazards and Tips
First, be weather ready! Thunderstorms are a normal occurrence in Southern Colorado this time of the year. Knowing ahead of time the forecast and when thunderstorms are likely to form is key to keeping you safe.
Bring rain gear and extra layers because when weather rolls in, temperature changes can be pretty extreme, even in the middle of summer. Check the forecast and radar anytime on our First Alert 5 mobile weather app.
Bring water and sunscreen. It's very important that you stay hydrated and protect yourself from sunburn.
We spoke to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department, and they stressed to me the importance of being Bear Aware! Colorado is bear country, and bears tend to be most active from late summer to early fall when they consume the most calories before winter hibernation.
Give wildlife space. It's best to give these animals plenty of room to roam about so that they won't feel threatened by our presence.
Lastly, keep your dogs on a leash for the safety of your pet and others around you.
Pikes Peak Region Hiking Forecast
As we look at the forecast for the next 3 days in the Pikes Peak Region, we are watching for the potential of daily showers and thunderstorms.
Tuesday looks like it could be the wettest and stormiest day of the week, with the potential for heavy rain showers and possible flash flooding near recent fire burn scars.
Looking at the forecast, I would suggest Thursday as the best day this week to hike. As always, plan a morning or early afternoon hike if possible. Most storms this time of the year tend to develop between 2 and 8 pm.
Bring a Backpack and Extra Supplies
Find a backpack and stock it with supplies, whether for a short hike or a longer back country hike.
Make sure to bring plenty of liquids, like water and something with electrolytes to give your body some energy.
Pack plenty of snacks! You never know when that short hike you planned might turn into something bigger. Plus if you get lost, you'll want to have food on hand.
Invest in bear spray or an emergency horn that can be used to frighten bears or other wildlife during an unexpected encounter.
Last but not least, pack extra layers of clothing for when the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse. After all, this is Colorado.
For more information on Bear Aware, visit https://cpw.state.co.us/bears.