Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer is Here - Enjoy!

Summer is here and for those of us active people who love the outdoors and run, jump, bike, hike, paddle or push the limits in some way out on the trail, it is time to take a minute or two to evaluate the environment where you are going to be exerting yourself.
If you are doing so in a local public park or trail system you may already have realized that services have been cut due to the massive government debt so your trails may or may not look all that well maintained.
You may also have noticed reduced park police presence this year for those same reasons. Even so, if you are doing these things yourself and find yourself all of a sudden taken ill or trip and fall injuring yourself or get caught up in a storm....you might be alone for a while. Hey, no problem right? Maybe....but then again folks have gone off trail just a few feet and been injured with no way to summon help.
Bottom line: If you are all alone recreating in some way make sure you let someone else know where you are going, when you anticipate being back or finished, take a cell or smart phone and know where the closest phones (public or private) are near your route. If you are late, call and advise your contact(s) so they don't mistake your lateness as your being inconsiderate - it could make a big difference.
Avid runners will run 5-10 miles and into some terrain where you would not anticipate others to follow in short order so if you take a header off the trail or bike it could be some time before (if) help arrives. If road running you could get hit by a car by someone texting their friends and they would never know it. Even if people do pass by there is no saying who they might be or if they would be able to help you in a medical emergency.
This strategy is part of the overall ICE concept of common sense. Don't count on a TV movie rescue via helicopter either....it is not likely to happen in most cases. Anticipate a long wait and a long ride to a medical facility if you are out in the sticks.
A small pack carried on your waist with some first aid and survival essentials taken with you or attached to your bike, canoe etc. can help save your life. A local map would be a great addition if you are not overly familiar with your area.
Also be alert for others who don't "fit in" for some reason - don't deny what your instincts tell you. Best bet run/bike in a group (many do) if you take a regular route at a specific time as predators would count on you to maintain your schedule. Park your vehicle in a well traveled or easily observed spot if you can.
Just take some time to look around and ask "what if" a few times....then take some common sense steps to make your summer an enjoyable one!

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