BRING THE TEN ESSENTIALS
Even if you are heading out for a short day hike, you should have these in your pack:
1. Navigation – Be sure to carry a map of the area you intend to travel, a compass, and the knowledge of how to use them. If you use a GPS unit, be sure you are familiar with the unit. Bring a map and compass as a backup as electronics can malfunction unexpectedly.
2. Sun Protection – Sunglasses and sunblock should be carried, even on cloudy days. Eye protection should be worn during snow travel to prevent snowblindness which is a painful and debilitating condition.
3. Insulation – Weather can change suddenly. Be prepared for the worst possible weather you could encounter. Items you should include are a waterproof jacket, an extra layer of warmth (such as a fleece sweater), extra socks, gloves, and a warm hat.
4. Illumination – In the event your trip lasts longer than anticipated, you could find yourself on the trail in the dark. Having a flashlight or headlamp could be the difference between getting off the mountain tonight or having to wait until the next day.
5. First Aid Supplies – There is no exact list of what a person should carry for a particular trip, but here are some suggestions that would be appropriate: band-aids, adhesive tape, gauze pads, tweezers, over-the-counter pain relievers and antihistamines, compression bandage (such as an Ace bandage), and a triangle bandage to act as an arm sling.
6. Fire – It can become very cold at night, even in the summer, and an emergency fire could be a lifesaver. Some suggestions to pack are a lighter, fire starter, matches, chemical heat tabs, etc.
7. Repair Kit & Tools – Items can and will break. Build yourself an emergency repair kit to deal with backpacks that won’t zip, tears in clothing, tent poles that snap, etc. Some suggestions are duct tape, knife, safety pin, fabric patches, safety pins, etc.
8. Nutrition – In addition to the regular amount for the expected duration of your trip, be sure to bring extra rations in case you are out longer than planned, especially foods that require no cooking such as nuts, bars, etc
9. Hydration – Remember that we drink more when we are expending extra energy so account for that when you are deciding how much water to bring. If you plan on filtering or treating water on the way, verify that water will be available and that your filtering system is working correctly before you go.
10. Emergency Shelter – For day hikers, this doesn't have to be a full tent, but something that will provide some warmth and help protect from the elements. Even an emergency space blanket or bivy will provide additional protection.
PLAN YOUR TRIP – AND SHARE YOUR PLAN
Trip plans should include what time you are leaving, what time you expect to be back, and where you are going. Include what time someone should call 911 should you not return. Follow-up with a call to those who have your trip plan as soon as you return home.
Review recent trip reports (e.g. Washington Trails Association) and trail conditions.
- Read and understand the terrain, trail, and map before you go.
- Check weather forecasts, avalanche and snow conditions, etc.
- National Weather Service
- Northwest Avalanche Center
- WSDOT Stevens Pass (includes snow depth reports)
- Carry a map and compass and know how to use them.
- Wear clothes and shoes that are made for rugged terrain (boots or sturdy running shoes vs. flip flops) and changing weather/temperatures (layers of synthetic clothing items vs. a cotton tank top and shorts).
IF YOU BECOME INJURED OR LOST - S.T.O.P
S.T.O.P: Stop, Think, Observe and Plan. Once you make contact with rescuers, or if part of your group leaves to get help, STAY PUT:
- Stop: Unless the area you are in is unsafe, don't go any farther, but don't panic, either. Count to 10, drink some water or eat a little food. These acts often give you a fresh perspective and help you better assess your situation.
- Think: Where were you when you were last certain of your location? Was it at a trail junction? A river crossing? A place where you can take bearings to obvious physical landmarks that appear on the map? Can you navigate back to that point? Can you hear or see helpful landmarks like a road or trail? If so, carefully return to that spot and reevaluate your options.
- Observe: Put your senses on full alert. Picture in your mind all distinctive features you spotted as you came to your current position. Remember the details or any oddities that spurred you to make a mental note. Can you use them as waypoints to guide you back to a place where you were confident of your location? If so, return to that spot. Can you connect with a known trail from that point? Do so. If not, stay put. It's easier for rescuers to find you near your original line of travel. Are there any items there that can be useful to you? Any hazards you need to avoid? When will it get dark? How does the weather look?
- Plan: If you are with others, talk over a plan. If not, it can be useful to say the plan out loud as if you were explaining it to someone else. If it makes sense, then follow your plan. If not, revise your plan. If the situation changes as you follow that plan, use "STOP" again to improve your chances for a safe rescue.
SEARCH & RESCUE
The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Unit is a unit within the Sheriff’s Office comprised of volunteers and personnel trained and equipped to perform searches, rescues, and recoveries in a variety of terrain. This unit is supported by the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue (SCVSAR), a nonprofit organization comprised of about 300 members from all around Snohomish County with eight different units and several specialty teams, including the Helicopter Rescue Team, Swift Water Rescue, K9 SAR, 4X4 Rescue, Tracking, and Mountain Rescue.
While Search and Rescue missions do cost money and time, the Snohomish County SAR does not charge victims for rescue. In a county that boasts some the best outdoor recreational activities in the world, charging for rescues deters people from calling for help immediately. Delayed rescues cost money, time and lives. The vast bulk of manpower and services are provided by volunteers spending their own time and money, using their own equipment to be out there.
HIKING SAFETY DURING HUNTING SEASONS
Wear bright clothing. Make yourself more visible. Choose colors that stand out, like bright blue or green, and avoid blacks, browns, earth- tones, and animal colored clothing.
- Make your self known. If you hear shooting, raise your voice and let hunters know you are in the vicinity.
- Know when hunting seasons are scheduled and be aware of where hunting is taking place.
- Grouse and bear hunting season is typically August– December, sometimes earlier. October is the high point of hunting season, including deer and elk.
- Discharging firearms within 150 yards of a developed and/or occupied area, or across a body of water is prohibited in National Forests.
- Hunting rules and regulations are governed by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Check annually for updates to policies.
Pacific Dogwood begins blooming around Darrington, Washington in April and into June at higher elevations. The petals are slightly tinged with green when young. This splendid tree can grow up to 60 feet. The original name for this tree was "Dagwood" because the very hard wood was used to make "dags" a wedge.
As the flower matures the flower petals become white, then slowly fade to a light purple, then to brown, and drop away leaving the center of the flower which will form into scarlet berries. In fall the leaves turn into a plum-orange color. Several Dogwoods re-bloom in the fall making quite a spectacular show of bright white flowers, with a backdrop of fall leaves and berries.
March – June