Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hiking safely with Hiking Bob

Posted By on Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 12:57 AM

click to enlarge SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
This week, a couple of safety tips:

• Lightning
is a constant summer danger in Colorado, especially in wide-open areas and above tree line (approximately 12,000 feet). A thunderstorm doesn’t have to be directly overhead for lightning to strike you. The best way to avoid a lightning strike is to watch the weather and get indoors as quickly as possible. But if a lightning strike is imminent (your hair is standing up, and you’re experiencing a tingling sensation and other warning signs) and you can’t find indoor shelter, REDUCE YOUR PROFILE.

A common misconception is to lay flat on the ground, but that only increases your body contact and makes you more prone to being hit. Instead of sprawling out on your stomach, get into a crouching position and have just the balls of your feet in contact with the ground.

• Hydration is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy while recreating in any season, especially in our high elevation and drier climate. Insufficient hydration can cause or worsen a myriad of health problems, and a headache caused by being dehydrated can also mask the symptoms of high altitude sickness.

Despite what the sports drink manufacturers tell you, the best way to keep hydrated is by drinking good ol’ plain water. Whether it’s in bottles or hydration backpacks (my preference), bring plenty of water with you on your outing and drink as often as needed, even if you’re not thirsty. If you’re new to outdoor recreation, bring more water than you think you’ll need; after a while you’ll know how much water you really need and can adjust how much you carry.

And your need for appropriate hydration doesn’t end when the hot weather ends — this applies all year ’round.

Bob Falcone is a firefighter, arson investigator, non-profit board president, college instructor, photographer, hiker and small business owner who has lived in Colorado Springs for 23 years. You can follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), or visit his website ( E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob:

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