Fall hiking safety: Be aware, be prepared

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Mesa County Search and Rescue officials and local hikers give advice on high country preparedness in an effort to help others avoid being lost, no matter where your feet lead you in Colorado’s great outdoors.

"Preparedness is key," said hiker Marea Goodman.

Goodman has been hiking her whole life and loves that there are trails so close to home, but she always comes prepared no matter how far she's going.

"Even if I am doing Mount Garfield on a sunny day, I have water and a wind shirt and possibly something to snack on like a Power Bar or a piece of fruit," said Goodman.

And hikers Brian Preston's favorite piece of advice is to be very familiar with the area you're exploring.

"Sometimes when you go on some trails they will be not very well marked and there is no more path, so you have to know where you are going to be," said Preston.

Planning your route is also important.

"Know where you can get water, where the next source of help is. Just know where you are going and how to get out," said Preston.

Operations Leader for Mesa County Search and Rescue Bill Thomas stresses the importance of telling someone where you're going and when you'll be back.

"Make sure that's a responsible person, and make sure they know enough to call 911 if you don't get back at that time," said Thomas.

He has another tip for outdoor enthusiasts of all experience levels.

"If you think you're lost, you're lost, then your job becomes sit down, stay in one place, make yourself easy to find and stay alive," said Thomas.

Staying alive can be a whole lot easier if you come well prepared like Marea.

"A few things can make all the difference between being scared and uncomfortable and being happy and confident," said Goodman.

Search and Rescue officials say you before you head into the wilderness, you should know how to start and manage a fire.

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