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<September 2014>
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Desert Hiking Safety Tips

Most of us are “transplants” to the desert, having moved here from somewhere else. We can learn a lot from our native surroundings if we just tune in to what is going on around us. Desert mammals are active in the early morning hours and again at dusk. Adjust your outdoor recreation habits to reflect this pattern to enjoy a safe summer hiking season!

In addition, here are a couple of basic safety refreshers to keep in mind when recreating outdoors:

  • Take short, familiar trails.
  • Start early…the earlier the better.
  • Rest often.
  • Never hike alone
  • Keep skin covered as much as possible by wearing a long sleeved shirt and a hat. Light colored clothing will help reflect heat.
  • Stay hydrated all the time. The best place to store water is in your body! Make sure to drink extra (water) the day before a planned hike to pre-hydrate. On the hike, carry more water than you think you’ll need. Depending on the length of the hike, carry at least 70-100 ounces. Always keep extra water in your vehicle for after the hike.
  • Carry a bandana in your pack. They are light-weight and can be used for numerous situations. If you are beginning to suffer from excessive heat, wet the bandana and place on the nape of the neck and/or the forehead. This will help to cool you down quickly. Seek shade under a tree or bush.
  • Leave word with someone trustworthy about where you intend to go. If you plan to camp overnight, fill out a slip at the Ranger Station so we don’t assume you are lost or injured, if your car is at the trailhead at closing time (sunset).
  • Map miles are not the same as effort miles. On good trails, hikers can go up to 2.5 MPH. On most trails, count on no more than 1 or 1.5 MPH, especially if admiring the views, cooling off under Palo Verde trees, taking pictures, etc.
  • Going uphill takes more time. A 1,000’ climb equals a mile of effort and adds 10 or 20 minutes. Downhill is no faster if the trail is bad.
  • Heat can kill you! Avoid travel if it is above 100 degrees. Hike between sun up and 11 a.m. Your efficiency drops drastically with heat and dehydration.
  • Carry enough water – two quarts at least. (It is impossible to carry enough on a 115-degree day.)
  • Be wary of rattlesnakes, particularly at night and when it is relatively cool. We have a plentiful supply here.
  • Carry something to signal with – a police whistle, signal mirror, and matches for a fire, a colored panel – to make you visible.
  • It is good sense to carry a hiking staff to aid in rough spots, and some sprain tape.
  • White Tank Mountain is tough country. Off-trail travel can get you in bad trouble quickly.
  • Look behind you frequently. The trail back looks different from the trail out.

 

Be considerate – leave no trace.

.

.

San Tan Shredders Mountain Bike Group - San Tan
Early Bird Walk and Program - White Tank Mtn.
Beginner Flatwater Canoeing On-water Skills Course
Beginner Flatwater Canoeing On-water Skills Course
Rock Art of Spur Cross
Sonoran Story and Craft Time: Just for Kids - San Tan
All About Desert Tortoises: Presented by Wildman Phil- San Tan
Venomous Reptiles - LIVE!! - Usery Park
Spotlight on Desert Night Life - San Tan

"Desert General Store" Walk - White Tank Mtn. - 9/24/2014
"Just for Kids" - Storytime in the Desert - Usery Park - 9/24/2014
Night Shredders - San Tan - 9/24/2014
Exploring New Trails - Come Hike it with the Park Ranger! - Lake Pleasant - 9/25/2014
The Desert Tortoise and Friends - McDowell - 9/25/2014
Fridays Fitness Hike- McDowell - Sonoran Trail- DIFFICULT - 9/26/2014
Home School Program: "Chemical Reactions and More" ***CANCELLED*** - Usery Park - 9/26/2014
All About Elk - Usery Park - 9/26/2014
Nocturnal Desert Wildlife Talk - Lake Pleasant - 9/26/2014
Snake Feeding - White Tank Mtn. - 9/26/2014
All About Scorpions - San Tan - 9/26/2014
Know and Go Scorpion Hunt - Lake Pleasant - 9/26/2014
Super Scorpion Search - White Tank Mtn. - 9/26/2014
Night Shredders - San Tan - 9/26/2014
Scorpion Scavenger Hunt - San Tan - 9/26/2014
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY LAKE PLEASANT CLEAN UP - 9/27/2014
TRAILWORK Volunteer Day - San Tan - 9/27/2014
Library Series - Animals in Arizona Archaeology - White Tank Mtn. - 9/27/2014
Tales of the Sonoran Desert - White Tank Mtn. - 9/27/2014
Desert Survival: For Everyone - San Tan - 9/27/2014
Desert Show & Tell - McDowell - 9/27/2014
"When the Night Moves... Rattlesnakes and Other Critters" Lake Pleasant - 9/27/2014
"Monsoon Madness!" - Cave Creek Regional Park - 9/27/2014
All About Scorpions - Usery Park - 9/27/2014
Clay Mine Adventure! - Cave Creek Regional Park - 9/27/2014
more...


General Park Hours
Sun-Thu: 6am-8pm
Fri-Sat: 6am-10pm
- 365 days a year 

Headquarters Admin Hours
Mon-Fri: 8am-4pm
except holidays 

Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Dept.
The Headquarter Administrative Offices are located at:
41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd.
Unit Operations Center

Morristown, AZ 85342
Ph: 602-506-2930 or (928) 501-9200
Fax: (602)372-8596
maricopacountyparks@mail.maricopa.gov

 
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