The following is a guest post by Jane Grates.
Idaho is a delightful and beautiful place to visit and even moreso an incredible place to hike. While there are already tons of great hiking resources available on this site related to hiking spots in Idaho, there isn’t a tutorial or a simple guide about considerations you should take while hiking in east Idaho: until now.
Below, you’ll find 7 tips to remember while hiking in east Idaho. It’s my sincerest hope that these precautions will help you stay safe while still having lots of fun during your hiking expeditions in eastern Idaho. Safe fun is the best type of fun, right?
Seven tips to remember while hiking in east Idaho include the following:
Hike only in designated areas. This is true for everywhere you could hike, but it’s a good reminder and worth including here. It may be tempting to go off the beaten path and go exploring, but please remember that some of the geography you’ll be traversing on your hikes is somewhat precarious and fragile. It’s better for the environment and all the wildlife on whose homes you are encroaching if you stay on the predetermined path. You’ll probably see signs that remind you to stay on the designated path, but if not, there are even some places where, should you go off-trail, you could be slapped with a significant fine. It’s not worth doing for all the obvious reasons, and if you love the environment, do it for the animals.
Bring a sufficient amount of provisions. Particularly if you’re going to be out hiking for hours on end, it’ll be imperative that you plan accordingly and ensure that you have a sufficient amount of food, snacks, and water to last you for the duration of your hike. Of course, some foods travel more easily than others — I’m thinking trail mix or fruit instead of, let’s say, a prime rib dinner — but you should experiment to see what works best for you. Obviously, if you’re going to be outside in blazing hot weather, I’d encourage you to avoid bringing foods that could melt, and conversely, if you’re out hiking when it’s very cold, I’d avoid bringing provisions that could freeze easily.
Wear sunscreen. By this point in our lives, we all are already well-aware that the sun is super harmful to our skin. That said, it’s wild that so many people still choose to eschew the medical community’s recommendations and fail to wear any sort of sunscreen when they’re outside. Even if it’s a cloudy day, you can still get a significant sunburn. Wear something with a high SPF level that protects you against both UVA and UVB rays — be sure to read the packaging to know that you’re getting both layers of protection — and be sure to re-apply if you’ve been outside for a long time or if you’ve gone into water or have sweat it out.
Consider the wildlife. Before you go on your hike, do your research to see what wildlife you may encounter. It may make sense to bring bear spray along with you, for example, if you’re going somewhere that has a sizable bear population. It’s also a good idea to do some research beforehand so you know how to react if you were to see an animal while you were out hiking. Again: it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Sign the book. Some places ask that guests sign the entry books. It’ll literally take you two seconds to do this, but it can be the difference between you getting lost and someone coming to look for you or you getting lost and vanishing forever. If nothing else, think of it as a neat permanent record of the day you took that particular hike.
Tell others where you’re going and how long you think you’ll be gone. Again related to safety, it’s important to tell someone where you’ll be going, how long you think you’ll be gone, and what they should do (or whom they should call) if you’re not back by a predetermined time. Sure, this sounds a little creepy and morbid, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Crazy things happen on even the friendliest and most accessible of hiking options, so it’s better to cover your bases than to leave people guessing and worrying. Your mother will thank you for doing this!
Consider bringing ID and your phone. Minimally, bring along your ID in case you were to need it if something bad happened while you were out on your hike. If you’re interested in taking pictures along the way, bringing your phone might not be a bad idea, either. Some people hike to disconnect from society, so understandably, bringing along a piece of technology might be antithetical to the purpose of your trip; it all depends on what your ultimate goal is for the experience.
Taken together, these seven tips will hopefully get you out the door and safely on to your hiking adventures in east Idaho this spring and summer.
Be safe, more than anything, but also remember to have a beautiful and fun time out there!