Safety Tips for Hikers on the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail pic
Appalachian Trail
Image: appalachiantrail.org

A mental health technician by profession, Todd Belok is an avid outdoorsman in his free time. Todd Belok has hiked and camped along the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

When you hike along the Appalachian Trail, you may at times be far from medical or police assistance. This requires you to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, particularly if you find yourself in a social situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Experts recommend that you avoid anyone who seems dangerous or intoxicated, and that you always avoid insinuating that you are hiking alone.

Situational awareness also extends to weather, which can come up suddenly on the trail. Hikers should know how to spot electrical storms and how to seek shelter when one appears to be coming. Similarly, all hikers should know the terrain challenges inherent in the areas they wish to hike, and should plan routes according to party members’ abilities.

Health may also be a concern, particularly as camping often involves communal eating and living. Medical professionals warn hikers to avoid sharing food or utensils, wash hands before eating whenever possible, and filter drinking water. Regular body checks are likewise important, as tiny deer ticks can spread illness to even the most conscientious hiker.

Finally, whether alone or in a group, it is important that you convey your location to someone off the trail. This should be a person with whom you are comfortable checking in on a regular basis, and who is willing to follow a pre-determined procedure if a scheduled check-in does not occur.

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Patagonia – An Adventure Seeker’s Paradise

Patagonia
Patagonia

 

Since 2015, medical services professional Todd Belok has served as a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. An avid traveler, Todd Belok has visited a number of areas around the world, including Patagonia.

A popular travel destination for those who love the outdoors, Patagonia is a beautiful, remote and rugged region on the southern end of South America. This immense territory is shared by Argentina and Chile and features a diverse landscape comprising soaring mountains, massive glaciers, evergreen forests, and windblown plateaus.

Adventure seekers who travel to the area will enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, kayaking, and trekking on horseback. Some of the most popular places to explore in Patagonia include Torres del Paine, Los Glaciares, Tierra del Fuego, and the region’s other three national parks.

Although there are a number of tour operators working in the region, booking a tour is not a necessity, and many travelers find that it is very easy to enjoy Patagonia without one. With unpredictable weather year-round, there is no one best time to visit Patagonia, but the region is generally warmer and more accessible from December through February.