Stay Safe and Be Smart When Hiking the Trans Canada Trail this Fall
There’s no better way to experience the splendour of the changing season than with a hike on the Trans Canada Trail. The beauty of Canada’s natural landscape is there for all of us to enjoy this fall, along with the peace of mind and satisfaction of being able to ‘get away from it all’ at a time when outdoor recreation and connecting with nature is more important than ever.
This fall, Trans Canada Trail’s Great Canadian Hike challenge is a perfect way to get to discover the wonders of our country’s vast and diverse landscapes. At more than 28,000 kilometres, the Trans Canada Trail is the world’s longest network of recreational, multi-use trails.
But getting away from it all on a hike or any outdoor adventure can also mean limited or no cell phone service, raising safety concerns. Large sections of the Trans Canada Trail are out of reach of cellular services, or you may be relying on a cell phone network that is unreliable. And while disconnecting from day-to-day communications from time to time can be great for your well-being, it can also leave you vulnerable if you need help along the way.
A recent survey of SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger owners showed that 90% ranked emergency notification technology as extremely important. So, when you’re packing up your outdoor gear and heading to the Trail, be sure to include a SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger. Outdoor enthusiasts who have used SPOT on their journeys will be the first to tell you how valuable a device it is.
Randy Brown, a Search and Rescue expert with Penticton, British Columbia District Search and Rescue (SAR), provides advice for outdoor adventurers: “Carry a portable GPS-enabled communications device so that you can share your location and status even if you are outside the reach of cellular networks or if your cell phone battery fails. The GPS-enabled SPOT X Two-Way Satellite Messenger or the SPOT Gen4 will ensure you have a reliable way to communicate independent of cellular, while also giving the ability to share your travel route with family and friends who can track your progress, and the ability to notify emergency services with your location coordinates if a rescue is needed.”
Hiking and Outdoor Adventure Safety Tips
Plan ahead and spread the word
When planning your route ahead of time, include alternate routes just in case something goes amiss. Then check to see where there is cellular coverage…or not. If you’re heading into remote areas beyond cellular reach or want a backup for your cellular service, pack a GPS device such as the SPOT X 2 for your journey.
Once you have your plan in place, be sure to share it – along with a schedule – with family members or friends. When you are on the Trail, you can share your journey on Google Maps by pushing a button on the satellite messenger to report your location at any given time.
Pack for safety
Essential tools should include a whistle, compass, and knife or multi-use tool for repairing gear or providing first aid. And of course, carry a well-stocked first aid kit.
Other must-haves include a light, emergency fire sources, and extra batteries or chargers. A light space blanket is a great option for protecting yourself from the elements when waiting for rescue teams to arrive.
Don’t forget sunscreen, SPF lip balm, sunglasses and proper clothing to protect you from the quickly changing fall weather.
Dress for the occasion(s)
Be sure to wear well-fitting shoes or boots with plenty of room and support. And choose a backpack that fits your body and the occasion.
Pack enough clothing items for all weather conditions, including rain gear and extra clothing for layering to provide insulation during colder weather. Don’t forget reflective or brightly coloured clothing.
Carry water and healthy snacks
Always carry enough water and put together a plan to replenish your supply. This is where a filtration system can come in handy.
Include lots of healthy calorie-dense, protein-rich snacks to keep your energy levels up, such as nuts, trail mixes, fresh fruit and vegetables, energy bars and chews.
Be prepared in case of an emergency
If you are in trouble, find a safe location where you can be seen by rescuers, and call for assistance. If you are in cellular range, dial 911. If outside of that, push the SOS button on your SPOT X or SPOT Gen 4 Satellite Messenger to send a signal to emergency services, including your GPS coordinates.
Respect Mother Nature
Be sure to take along a garbage bag, a Ziploc bag and disposable gloves to clean up after yourself! You owe it to others who will follow your footsteps. Mother Nature will thank you for it.
Happy trails and be sure to stay safe this fall!
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