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By the Hiking Association of Trinidad and Tobago
As the August vacation draws to a close, families and friends may be seeking exciting ways to end the holidays, before their children return to school. Weather permitting, the lure of the outdoors remains a constant, and hiking is a burgeoning means of exploring and enjoying the many benefits of God’s creation, but it must be done safely.
Guidelines for hikers
Participants are responsible for signing up/registering only for trips that are within their capabilities, wearing suitable clothing and bringing items or equipment as specified by the hike leader. Participants must read and follow any guidelines or instructions given by the hike leader.
How to pack for a day walk/hike
All items must fit neatly into a backpack.
- Water or re-hydrant (1-2 liters in a water bottle or water bladder)
- Nutrition (a snack or a light meal)
- First aid supplies (include personal medication)
- Emergency shelter (light tent, tarp, or large plastic bag)
- Light (head lamp, flashlight)
- Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, cap)
- Insect repellant
- Repair kit (tools, duct tape)
- Raincoat/Change of clothing
- Water-proof bags, e.g., Ziploc bags (to secure phones, remotes, car keys etc.)
Tips for hikers
- Check the rating given to the hike, then choose only those hikes for which you are medically and physically fit
- Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing. Tee-shirts and long track pants are preferred
- Use sneakers with good grips on sole, no open shoes, no slippers, or sandals.
- Pack lightly. Include water, sandwiches, medicines, insect repellant, extra change of clothing, and a sleeping bag or large plastic bag. Use a backpack preferably with hydration bladder to keep hands free
- Leave valuables behind. If you must take cell phones, remotes, camera, jewelry etc. secure them in a water-proof bag. Take these at your own risk
- No jewelry, hanging earrings, chains, bracelets are allowed on the hike
- Do not hike in parties of less than three. Always keep together, and travel at the pace of the slowest hiker keeping 3 to 5 paces apart
- Keep 2 to 3m between yourself and the hiker ahead but always keep the hiker ahead within sight
- Stay on the trail. Do not venture off the trail unless absolutely necessary. Always inform the hike leader and check the terrain and your surroundings before you go
- No running on the trail since this can cause serious injury to yourself and others. Pace yourself and take shorter steps when going up-hill
- Pass over a log by stepping onto it and then off on the other side. If you must crawl under, carefully survey the area first for snakes
- Take a drink every 15 to 20 minutes to prevent dehydration
- On approaching an intersection on the trail, one direction will be blocked by cut bush. Please use the unblocked trail OR look for trail markers. Do not use blocked trails
- The first and last person in the group is always a hike leader. Please do not walk ahead of the first hike leader
- If at any time while on the trail you are uncertain about which direction to take, stand your ground, wait for a hike leader
- Be cautious when holding branches to avoid thorns and unstable support. Avoid shaking bushes and making excessive noises
- Do not eat or touch any fruit or plant that is unknown to you
- Do not go into water until proper safety measures are in place and you are advised by a hike leader that it is safe to do so. Then enter feet first. Do not dive
- It is illegal to remove spent shells or discharged cartridges from the forest
- Consumption of alcohol and smoking is prohibited on the trail.
- Follow guidelines given by the hike leader before beginning the hike
- Hike leaders have first aid kits. Please ask if you need assistance
- If at any time you feel ill, it is imperative that you notify the hike leader immediately or ask a hiking companion to do so
- Do not litter. Take our garbage with you for proper disposal. Keep our forests clean
- Follow any instructions given by the hike leader.
Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash