Last updated: April 25, 2019 By Arvin Reynold
Hiking in the wilderness is the most adventurous experience that you can get. Especially if you go to in a group with your friends, you can explore the wilderness enjoyably. But no adventure is out of hazards.
Similarly, hiking has some of its associated hazards that you should know. In this article, I have listed most common hiking hazards that you may face.
Common Hiking Hazards
- Deception of the unknown place
- Acute Mountain Sickness
- Communication Breakage
- Hypothermia from Soaked Dress
- Human Hazards
- Natural Disasters
- Heat Stroke
- Lack of Clean Water
- Danger From Wild Animal & Insect
I think each of the above points needs to be explained for proper understanding. So, here you go!
Deception of the Unknown Place
While it is adventurous to explore the new place while hiking, there are some potential disadvantages as well. You know nothing about the place and there might be some topographical hazards like loose rocks, steep climbs, sheer cliff edges, etc.
Let’s say you found a small river while hiking and you think there is water on the level of your waist only. If you don’t know how to swim, it might pose an extremely dangerous situation for you. There might be acute current going on. So, you might even die in such small water sources.
Acute Mountain Sickness
It is also known as the altitude sickness. Depending on your fitness level, age and gender you will feel it differently. The more way you go up, there will be less oxygen. And it affects the whole body differently.
If you feel nausea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, etc – that means you are suffering from acute mountain sickness. If you are visiting the mountain from the states with lower elevations, you will notice it most.
Such sickness may lead to falling from the high places as well. Don’t forget to wear your mountain climbing helmet.
In the wilderness when the bad thing starts coming, it starts coming all the way. Most of the time you won’t find proper network coverage if you go deep in the wilderness area. The battery of your cell phone may die.
When you find no way to communicate with others for help, and you don’t know how to use a map and compass, you are in real trouble!
Hypothermia from Soaked Dress
If you go hiking in the summer, the weather will be unpredictable. At day it may reach up to 90 degrees but at night it may fall below 40 degrees. Your own sweat will soak the dress you will wear and that will catch you the hypothermia. Unless you carry a waterproof jacket and extra dress, you are in real trouble. Also, you will find it too difficult to hike without hiking boots.
By human hazards, I mean the hikers themselves. If you don’t have proper preparations and have some health issues, you will be in real trouble and destroy the adventure of everyone else. If you have any sort of health problem, don’t go for the hiking.
By taking proper preparations I mean if you don’t take a waterproof jacket and it is raining in the wilderness – you are in real trouble.
One common natural disaster, while you are hiking in the wilderness, is lighting strike. If you don’t know how to read the weather and cloud shape, you are in deep trouble while the lightning strikes.
Remember, electrical storm is really a common threat and unless you are prepared – you can be the next victim of such natural disaster. If you are in a group while hiking; separate all of you during the lighting and take shelter.
It’s common hiking hazard in the summer. In the summer if you go for the hiking and the temperatures of the wilderness area are too high, the chance of heat stroke is very high. Heat stroke is life-threatening and needs quick action to mitigate the risk.
People often confused heat exhaustion with the heat stroke. Heat stroke is more dangerous. During hiking in the summer if you suffer from dehydration or have rapid heart rate, continuously sweat – you are more likely to have a heat stroke.
Lack of Clean Water
In the wilderness, you have the least chance of getting clean water freely and easily. Yes, of course, you will carry your own drinking water in the bottle. But unless your bottle is clean enough, the water will be contaminated.
Don’t drink unsafe water and also don’t share water bottle in the groups. Lack of clean water may lead to cramping.
Danger from Wild Animal & Insect
Snakebite, bear attack, insect sting, etc may happen during the hiking. It’s a common threat among all the hiking hazards. Wilderness is the place of wasps, bees, hornets etc. You may fall Bringing some medication of insect sting is a good idea.
Summing Up Hiking Hazards
I have discussed the most common hiking hazards that anyone can face in the wilderness. Now that you know what sort of hazards you may face in the wilderness, I believe you can take precautionary steps to mitigate your risks.