Basic Safety Tips for Hiking the Appalachian Trail


Appalachian Trail pic

Appalachian Trail

A board-certified cardiologist, Pradeep Ghia spent more than three decades leading an invasive cardiology practice in Easton, Pennsylvania. Now retired from private practice, Dr. Pradeep Ghia maintains a healthy lifestyle and routinely goes hiking and backpacking on the Appalachian Trail.

Hikers are expected to be prepared and informed before they start their hikes on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Here are a few safety points for hiking:

Take a trail map. If you leave the trail because of an emergency or if you simply get turned around, you need a way to find where you are. Some hikers neglect taking maps because they plan on using GPS or phone for tracking their location. Unfortunately, this technology is not always reliable, but a paper map and a compass are.

Share your plans. Let someone know where you are going and how long you plan to be gone. Provide an itinerary for overnight and long-distance hikes, and make sure you check in regularly.

Stay alert. Due to the popularity of hiking trails, you likely will come across many strangers. If you feel uncomfortable around certain people, trust your instincts and avoid them. This is especially important if you are hiking alone. Use the pronoun “we” rather than “I” to keep from broadcasting the fact that you are alone.


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