Getting Mountain Ready!
By Donna Stark
With summer just beginning, many families are looking for ways to "escape the heat," and there is no better way to do so than to head to the mountains for a camping trip. But before you pack your bags, load up your car, and lead your loved ones into the unpredictable wilderness, it's important to be prepared! In fact, being prepared is the best course of action you can take when it comes to braving the great outdoors with your family, don't you think? But what exactly does that mean? And how do you know if you are prepared enough or not? Here are a few suggestions on how to make your vacation in the woods a safe and successful one for everyone involved.
Never leave home without a first-aid kit! A good rule of thumb is to always keep a fully stocked kit in either your car or your backpack, and to keep it accessible because you never know when you will need it. Items you will want to include in your kit are sunscreen, bandages, pain relievers, calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, antiseptics, scissors, tweezers, and a thermometer.
It's not a camping trip unless you end the day sitting around a campfire, but you have to be sure everyone understands common fire safety rules. If you don't have a designated fire pit, be sure to build your fire away from brush and low-hanging branches, always keep a bucket of water or a shovel nearby so you can put it out quickly if needed, and keep the size of your fire small and manageable! It's also vitally important that you check for any official fire restrictions before you leave.
Checking the 10-day forecast before you leave is a great idea, but don't forget to also keep an eye on the sky while camping. Weather can change at a moment's notice and you certainly don't want to ignore Mother Nature's warnings because if you do, you may find yourself in a very dangerous situation. From torrential thunderstorms to perilous flash floods, lives could be at risk if you don't pay attention.
Safety in Numbers
It's always a good idea to stick together. Even if you think you are just going to head out for a little hike and don't plan on going very far, make sure someone is with you. Another good safety rule to consider is to carry a whistle around your neck when you leave the group.
For many people, the least favorite part of camping is the preparation before the trip. It's definitely a lot of work to plan for all the different scenarios, but if there is one key idea to remember here, it's that the more prepared you are, the better your camping experience will be. Now go on! Hit the trails and have fun!
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