Hiking is a rewarding outdoor activity, but there are a few things that every Hiker should know before they head out for the trail. Here in the desert bringing plenty of water along with you is probably the most important thing to remember. On average a hiker will consume approximately two gallons of water per person per day when the temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit; and even more as the temperature goes higher ( as it tends to do here in the desert).
I can't say enough about the need to carry enough water, for more information on water needs while hiking in desert, click HERE
You should also have good hiking boots instead of walking shoes. Many of the trails have loose sand and dirt and you will need the extra traction. Be sure to check out the bottoms to look for good traction when buying your boots. The hiking boots being sold today are much lighter and more comfortable than the hiking boots of a few years ago.
Another helpful hint for any hiker may sound funny, but don't forget to TRIM YOUR TOENAILS! On the downhill part of the hike you will be VERY glad you did. If you don't, your big toe will be pushed into the front of your boots, and it will cause much MISERY !
You should always check out the weather reports before heading off into the backcountry. Even here in the desert, you can be caught by a storm and get into trouble. Some of the storms can be brutal up in the hills surrounding Palm Springs.
It is a good idea to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return just in case something happens to you. You should also never hike alone, and you should always carry a cell phone.
Items To Take With You On A Hike
- Water ( like I said, you canít have enough)
- Food. We usually carry Apples or other fruit, some string cheese, and energy bars like Cliff or Luna Bars.
- Trekking poles or a walking sticks. You can have one, or two whatever your prefer. They really help absorb the shock on your knees while going downhill, and they add power on the ascent. There are some nice trekking poles out there starting around $35. If that is not in your budget, do like I did and find ski poles at a thrift store for about $2.
- Compass & Map of the area. Most of the trails listed on this website are really easy to follow, but it is a good idea to carry these items.
- A good breathable straw hat to keep the sun off your head and face. Baseball hats tend to trap heat.
- Matches or a lighter (you just never know when you will need them)
- Flashlight. I know, you are going on a DAY HIKE right? But if something happens and you are out there after dark, you will be glad you did.
- Good Sunblock that can resist sweat ( the higher the SPF number the better ).
- Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or whatever pain reliever you prefer.
- Small first aid kit. Here in the desert it is also a good idea to carry a snakebite kit (it is rare to see Rattlesnakes if you STAY ON THE TRAIL, but it does happen).
- A good knife
- Camera and binoculars.
- Imodium... What can I say?
- Chap Stick or other lip balm.
- Kleenex and toilet tissue (Kind of speaks for itself...)
- And always have a cell phone in case of emergency (but only in emergency, stay off it and enjoy nature).
Always remember to use common sense when hiking, and STAY ON THE TRAIL. Please pack EVERYTHING that you bring on the hike back out with you. Please don't leave trash behind on the trail when you leave.
Also, leave plants, rocks and any historical artifacts as you find them.