Hiking Safety 101

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli
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June 7, 2006

Police found the remains of a Petersburg man who disappeared from a hike last year. Just days ago, 2 hikers got lost in the same woods and survived on the contents of their backpacks.

Hiking is especially popular in our area and there are some things you should know that could save your life.

When heading out, you should pack more than just food and water.

"First Aid kit, a map, a compass, something to keep you dry in case it rains," said Matt Rosefsky of the Outdoor Adventure Social Club.

"You need a good pair of hiking boots. Hiking boots are both for ankle protection and to keep your feet both dry and warm on cold days," said Jon Mellor of the Outdoor Adventure Social Club.

Don't go hiking alone, and let people at home know where you are going.

"It's best to let people know when and where you're going and when you expect to be back so they know to look for you and know to call for help if you don't show-up. You can always leave a note on your car saying when you'll be gone and when you're coming back," said Rosefsky.

If you do get stuck in the woods it's best to make a shelter.

"You can put up some sticks against a big rock against a tree and maybe put some leaves over that to create a rain shelter," said Rosefsky.

You don't have to look far away. Local hikes are within minutes. The Rivanna Trail is a 20 mile hike throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle.

"The trail meanders through neighborhoods, it meanders through all of the green places that you don't see everyday," said Mellor.

Whether it's a national park or inside Charlottesville, outdoor adventurers find the best in every spot.

"I started hiking because I like going to pretty places and to see things that not everyone gets to see in a day to day life," said Mellor.

"I just love being out in the wilderness where it's beautiful out there, there aren't many people around, and you can get back to nature," said Rosefsky.

If you're interested in taking hikes around the area with an experienced leader in the Outdoor Adventure Social Club: www.outdoorsocial.com

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