As we’ve mentioned countless times before, hiking is a wonderful springtime activity to enjoy with the family, and Squamish has plenty of trails to offer. But before you hit the trails, you might want to brush up on some helpful safety tips to ensure that you’re well prepared and your fun family outing doesn’t turn into anything unexpected.
First off, tell someone where you are going and never hike alone. Call your parents or a close friend and make it part of a casual conversation. That way, in the event that you happen to get lost or don’t make it back in the timeframe that you said, the person that you told can get in touch with the search-and-rescue crew to get you home safe and sound. Especially when hiking in the mountains, cell phone reception is extremely limited, if there is even any of all. Never rely on your cell phone to get you out of a jam. Despite being incredibly useful for many things, a safety blanket when hiking is not one of them.
Secondly, stock up on rations and bring lots of water. For those long and grueling hikes, your body will require much more water and nutrition than usual, especially if temperatures are warmer than usual. Having a well stocked backpack with enough food and water for the whole family will ensure than you have enough energy to complete your hike and get home safely. In the event that you get stranded or lost, it’s better to have things to sustain you until help arrives. As with the cell phones, don’t rely on the rivers to provide you with water. Although you may have been led to believe that glacier fed streams are clean and safe to drink, they can be contaminated with many different strains of bacteria which can lead to sickness.
Thirdly, pick a trail that is within your limits. If physical activity is a rarity for you, do not pick a trail that is strenuous or will be hard on your body. Squamish offers plenty of trails for all skill levels so stick with the ones that you know you can tackle. Choosing a trail well beyond your physical limits greatly increases the risk of injury, or even death. Work your way slowly up to the harder ones.
Fourth, dress for the weather. If it’s raining, wear appropriate rain gear. If it’s sunny, dress light, but pack a warmer coat just in case of accidents or a change in the weather happens. Always make sure to wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes. Some of the trails around Squamish can be rocky and rugged, so open-toed sandals or loafers will not be appropriate. Hiking boots or running shoes should get the job done just fine.
Lastly, stay alert on the trails. There will be marked signs along the trails that will alert you to terrain changes and out-of-bounds areas, but it is also imperative that you keep an eye on your surroundings. Squamish is bear country and you are in their home. Keep active and loud on the trails to alert the bears of your presense. Often times, bears will stay away and not interfere, but they will approach if they feel threatened. If you do happen to encounter a bear on the trails, calmly turn around and walk the other way. Do not run. For additional bear safety, purchasing bear mace or a bear whistle may bring you extra comfort when navigating the trails. Get out there, have fun, and be safe on your hiking travels. For a list of hikes close near squamish, visit ExploreSquamish.