• Respect other trail users. Often you're not the only one on the trail. With the rise in popularity of
multiuse trails, you'll have to learn a new kind of respect, beyond the nod and “hello” approach of
the past. First investigate whether you're on a multiuse trail, and assume the appropriate precau-
tions. If you hear activity ahead, step off the trail just to be safe.
Mountain bikers can be like stealth airplanes—you may not hear them coming. Be prepared and find
out ahead of time whether you share the trail with them. Cyclists should always yield to hikers, but
that's little comfort to the hiker. Be aware.
When you approach horses or pack animals on the trail, always step quietly off the trail, preferably
on the downhill side, and let them pass.
More trails are being designed to be, at least in part, wheelchair accessible. Always step to the side
to allow folks in wheelchairs time to navigate the terrain. Make them aware if you are going to pass
Take along sunscreen or sunblock, protective clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat. If you do get a sun-
burn, protect the area from further sun exposure and treat the area with a remedy of your choice. Re-
member that your eyes are vulnerable to damaging radiation as well.
Be prepared to take care of these hike-spoilers by carrying moleskin (a lightly padded adhesive),
gauze, and tape. An effective way to apply moleskin is to cut out a circle of moleskin, remove the cen-
ter—like a doughnut—and place it over the blistered area. Cutting the center out will reduce the pres-
sure applied to the sensitive skin.
Insect Bites and Stings
You can treat most insect bites and stings by applying hydrocortisone cream (1 percent solution) topic-
ally. Remove any stingers by using tweezers or scraping the area with your fingernail or a knife blade.
Don't pinch the area, as you'll only spread the venom. Some hikers are highly sensitive to bites and
stings and may have a serious allergic reaction that can be life threatening. Symptoms of a serious al-
lergic reaction can include wheezing, an asthmatic attack, and shock.
Ticks can carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. The best defense is,
of course, prevention. If you know you're going to be hiking through an area containing ticks, wear
long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. You can apply a permethrin repellent to your clothing and a Deet
repellent to exposed skin. At the end of your hike, do a spot check for ticks (and insects in general). If
you do find a tick, coat the insect with petroleum jelly or tree sap to cut off its air supply. The tick
should release its hold, but if it doesn't, grab the head of the tick firmly—with a pair of tweezers if you