Preparation is key for anything you do in life, and hiking is no exception. Preparing ahead of time for hiking adventures will help keep yourself and others safe, and will make it easy to have fun once you get out on the trail. Knowing The Hiker’s Responsibility Code, developed by the White Mountain National Forest and New Hampshire Fish & Game, should be your first step in preparing for hikes.
The Hiker's Responsibility Code
You are responsible for yourself, so be prepared:
With knowledge and gear. Become self reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.
To leave your plans. Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you will return and your emergency plans.
To stay together. When you start as a group, hike as a group, end as a group. Pace your hike to the slowest person.
To turn back. Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your hike. Know your limitations and when to postpone your hike. The mountains will be there another day.
For emergencies. Even if you are headed out for just an hour, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening. Don’t assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself.
To share the hiker code with others.
The Hiker’s Responsibility Code provides a great starting point for all hikers to remember some key steps in planning a hike. Each step can be elaborated on with more knowledge that will help you become self reliant. Share the code with others as you learn so you can help spread awareness for hiker safety and preparation.For more on hiker preparation, keep reading our hikeSafe blog and visit hikesafe.com.