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Davis Journal

Summer is coming, how to stay safe when hiking

May 09, 2024 12:56PM ● By Bailey Chism
Davis County Search and Rescue travel the Fernwood Trail to find an injured hiker. (Photo from Davis County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Facebook)

Davis County Search and Rescue travel the Fernwood Trail to find an injured hiker. (Photo from Davis County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Facebook)

With warmer weather in the forecast, that means more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. But that could come at a cost if you’re not prepared. 

The reminder comes after a hiker was reported missing after going for a hike on the Fernwood Trail in Layton. He has since been found safe and unharmed, but that’s not always the case for everyone. 

It’s important to learn how to be prepared this time of year because different trails can bring different outcomes for hikers. 

Jared Sano, second vice commander of the Davis County Search and Rescue, said to remember to check the forecast before heading out for a hike. Knowing what to expect from the weather will help when preparing to leave and knowing what supplies to bring. 

Before leaving for a hike, be sure to let someone know where you are going and what your plan is going to be. If no one knows what time you plan on being back, no one will know you’re missing until it’s been too long. 

Sano said it should be easy to tell if you’re still on the trail by looking at the path you’re on. If it’s worn down and looks well-traveled, you are on the right path. For more popular trails, you’ll most likely pass other hikers and know where you’re on the right trail

Depending on the hike, it’s important to pack plenty of water or a water filter, food, extra clothes and items to keep you warm, maybe even something to start a fire. These items can help you survive for a day or night or if you get lost. 

Another important step is to keep an eye on your phone signal. Lots of hikes in the area lose signal and you may not be able to call anyone if you need to. Knowing where you have a signal will help if you need to call for help immediately. 

When search and rescue teams get a call for a lost hiker, the first thing they’ll do is try and get in contact with you. Making sure your phone is charged and has service is important because that will help the team find you. 

“With technology now we can ping their cell phones and we can get a pretty good location of where they're at,” Sano said. 

They’ll ask you to describe your surroundings, where you started your hike, how far into the trail you think you are, and what you have with you. An important thing to remember if you get lost is to stay where you are. Instead of trying to find your way back, sit and wait for the rescue team to pick you up. 

While it’s easier said than done, try not to panic. Davis County Search and Rescue will get to you quickly and bring all the resources you need.