Necessities for hiking: A Breck basic checklist

There is no better time for hiking than now. The trails are bursting with wildflowers, gurgling streams and fresh fragrances and are loudly calling your name. All you want to do is disappear into the landscape.

Before you set off into the wilderness, however, be sure that you have all of the essentials. Even if you’re planning on doing a simple, hour-long trek on a trail you’re familiar with, keep these guidelines in mind to ensure that your hike is not only memorable and magical but comfortable and safe.MohawkLakes2

–  Look at the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Go early. If there is a possibility of thunderstorms in the forecast, they typically roll through in the afternoon in the summer.

– Know the trail or go with someone who does. Most trails in and around Breck are well-marked, but there are clusters of them and it can be easy to get turned around sometimes,  so keep tabs on landmarks along the way. Carrying a map isn’t a bad idea. If you plan to do a lot of local hikes, The Summit Hiker by Mary Ellen Gilliland is a great resource (Don’t rely on phone apps because many local trails are out of signal range).

– If you see dark clouds building overhead, turn around. If you see lightning overhead, seek shelter. Weather can change quickly around here. Remember that you’re at 9,600 feet (and higher), so if it rains, it’s going to be cold, not to mention dangerous if the rain morphs into a full-fledged thunderstorm.

–  Wear and bring plenty of sunscreen and lip protection and remember to reapply, especially on shoulders if you’re wearing a backpack as the sunscreen gets rubbed off. At this elevation, we’re closer to the sun and the rays are powerful!

– Carry a cell phone and make sure somebody knows where you’re going before you leave.

– Dress appropriately. Sandals are not good for hiking. Wear sturdy athletic shoes or hiking boots with wool socks above the ankle. Always bring a rain jacket and an extra layer as temperatures at the top of the trail can vary drastically from those at the bottom, even if it’s dry and sunny.

– Carry plenty of water and snacks.

–  Especially if you’re embarking on a long hike, make sure you have at least a liter of water, snacks, cell phone, waterproof jacket, a First Aid kit and matches or a flashlight.

 

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