Take Care of Your Family While on that Hike

Sign In at the TrailheadMost military families are active!  They do not sit at home and whether they explore the local area or visit a county/state/national park they can find themselves challenged in new and different ways.  Avoiding injuries or illness while staying active can take some planning and thought.  

During a recent trip I hiked in the Adirondack National Park/ New York State Forest and it was certainly a great time.  But I did take a few precautions based on where I was going and what I knew about the area.  So a bit of intelligence gathering about the location of a hike can be critical.  Do you need bug spray for example?  Are the mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers etc out and about?  What about poison ivy?  Are you aware of this three shiny leafed plant that makes many itch after coming in contact? 

Know the weather and wear the right clothesOperationally, have you checked the weather?  Sunny and hot?  Cool and wet?  Thunderstorms?  All bring different effects and planning can’t start unless you know the weather.  There are so many ways to check: TV, websites such as the National Weather Service or smart phone Apps.  Some larger national parks even post the weather at their welcome centers.

Bring the rain gear if needed, some good hiking shoes, layers of clothing that you can shed during the hike if necessary, plenty of water and energy snacks.  All can make the trail a bit more fun and enjoyable.  During my hike (which was solo) I carried a small backpack with a gortex jacket and pants; lunch and snacks; water; first aid kit; long underwear; clean wool socks; fire starter and a Leatherman tool. 

Please remember to sign out too!Take the time at the trailhead to sign in if there is a sign in available (don’t forget to sign out as well) and leave a phone number so the rangers, etc can call you or a trusted family member or friend who know your plans.  I recently hiked a trail where the phone reception was almost zero for me so I left the home phone of my father in law where we were visiting.  I took the time to draw a quick description of where I was going and when I would be back.

One other quick note, I found that a sturdy walking stick can be very helpful while avoiding slips and falls.  So take up your feet and get your family moving; enjoy the great out of doors but do it safely!

Col K Hiking

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Dale Kissinger, ie. “Col K” is a co-founder of and retired Air Force pilot who served with the best of the military community from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force. He flew combat rescue and special operations helicopters, fixed wing trainers, special operations airlift and retired while flying the C-17 as the Vice Wing Commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB. He served his country during conflicts in Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.  You can read more of his blogs on KbyUnknownonFriday, September 20, 2013Military Life:,,,,,

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