Do you consider yourself an avid hiker? Perhaps even an apt and experienced one? Now, answer this: have you ever been hiking in the desert? Of course, if you have your choice of green forests, majestic mountains, or ocean shores, why would you? Deserts seem dismal and unwelcoming. But, I’d offer, hiking the desert climate is a true test of the adventurous hiker.
If the challenge sounds appealing, Karen Berger writes about tips and techniques you can use for hiking and backpacking in desert areas.
First, Berger recommends checking out seasonal weather patterns as seasonal factors affect water availability. She says you should mark all known water sources on your map and be aware of the distance and time between them. Additionally, she reminds you to bring enough water and suggests: “Never walk past a water source without drinking as much as possible and filling up your water bottles.”
Berger recommends trying to hike in the coolest parts of the day and being aware of dangerous desert fauna.
Berger also advocates getting in shape. She says, “One of the biggest problems in desert and dry-land hiking is acclimating to the heat and physical exertion. A body that is in shape will sweat less, a huge benefit in an arid environment.”
She says you should always leave your expected route and time of return with someone because it’s likely your cell phone may not work.
Finally, Berger says to eat continually in order to replace electrolytes lost to sweating. “Light snacks with salts and sugars are best for hot weather hiking,” she says.
If you’ve never hiked a desert before, remember to consult experienced professionals familiar with the area. Additionally, make sure you’re properly prepared with essential hiking gear.