Arizona Hiking Precautions

Arizona has one of the most beautiful landscapes this country has to offer. In fact, because of its landscape, many Arizonians love the ability to hike. With so many diverse trails and scenic views, it can be a great way to stay physically active throughout the year. However, while hiking can be fun, Arizona’s deserts have some very harsh terrain. Improperly preparing for some of these elements can set you up for failure. To help, here are three things you need to remember before hitting the trails:

Stay Hydrated

Arizona’s heat is no joke, especially during the summer! If you plan on hiking during the summer, plan on going very early morning. Arizona’s peak heat time is in the afternoon, so evening hikes can still be very hot. Bring plenty of water for the trails. Be cognitive of how much water you are drinking. When you have consumed more than half your water, you should start heading back. This way, you are paced to not run out of water deep in the desert or high up in the mountains.

Stay on the Trails

The desert is beautiful, but many animals and plants in the desert should be admired from afar. Arizona is home to many venomous snakes and insects. Scorpions, Black Widows, Rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, Tarantula, Brown Recluse, and Desert Centipedes are among some of the few critters to be concerned. Some cacti are even called jumping cacti and can “leap” towards you in your come into close proximity. Your best bet is to stay on trails and watch where you are stepping.

Know When Sunset Is

Sunset and sunrise change throughout the year. Arizona does not have a time change, but sunset can be pretty early in the Valley. Know when sunset is so you do not get caught in the desert at night. The desert comes alive at night with coyotes and javelinas. Be cognitive of the time while you explore the trails. 

Do Not Hike Alone

Lastly, while you may be excited to go explore, do not hike alone. Having a companion with you is always smart. Know your limits and be responsible for your own safety and others.

While there are elements to be concern about, hiking is still very safe when done right. Be smart and prepare for your trails before you go out for the day. Staying hydrated and being wary of your surrounds will allow you to have the best experience when hiking the beautiful desert oasis!

Spring Break Plans

9480227_SEven if you can’t leave town this year for Spring Break, you can plan some special family activities while your kids are out of school. Here are a couple of fun ideas.

Start a garden: Whether you begin with a few herbs in pots or decide to rent a rototiller, a garden is a great way of getting involved in something different. You might want each child to choose a vegetable to grow or give everyone a small area to plant whatever they want.

Begin by visiting a local nursery. Talk to the experts there to find out what options would be best for your available space and the season. You might want to mix some plants with a few packages of seeds to you have immediate crops and some that will come up later.

Look for heirloom varieties of vegetables, the ones that are hard to find in stores. Cherry tomato plants are also a good choice for the Arizona desert climate.

Let your children take the lead in planning and choosing. Get them directly involved in the planting and tending. If one child wants flowers rather than vegetables, that’s OK. It’s the process rather than the results that are important.

7954179_STake a hike: No, this is not a rude remark. How about planning a nature walk either in the area or within a few hours’ drive? Once again, let your children take the lead. Pick up a book of interesting local hiking areas at your local bookstore or library.

Make the hike extra fun by including a picnic that everyone contributes to making and packing. Take along a book that helps you identify local plants and birds. Have someone wear a pedometer so you know how far you’ve gone at the end of the day.

Make this Spring Break special by finding an activity or event that everyone in your family can enjoy and working together to make it special for everyone.