By: Pat Kobela, Guest Blogger
As individuals and families venture out into nature, during these COVID-19 times, Luzerne County, in Northeast Pennsylvania, offers miles of trails bringing you to scenic mountain vistas, up close to roaring waterfalls and through wildflower-covered fields. Located within easy driving distance from New York City, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Maryland, there is a trail for every skill level and interest. The use of trails has increased and some additional protocols are recommended above and beyond the essentials of good hiking ethics and sustainability.
Please keep in mind the following:
- Avoid crowded trails and have an alternate trail in mind if parking areas are full.
- Maintain safe distance from other hikers.
- Keep masks accessible to use when encountering others not in your household group.
- Have hand sanitizer available.
Below are hiking essentials whether you venture out for a day, overnight or even longer, properly preparing will help you make the most of your trip. The considerations listed allow for a safe and memorable experience while hiking in Luzerne County. To get started, pick your trail. You can find a number of local spots here: Luzerne County Trails.
Know and understand the hike you are taking.
1.) Know the crowd you are hiking with:
- All adults
- Adults and kids
- All kids (Especially if you are responsible for them).
2.) Difficulty/skill level matters
3.) You are only as fast as the slowest person
4.) Groups naturally separate while hiking; regroup on a regular basis
5.) Always wait for entire group when making a turn
6.) Rest begins after the last person arrives
7.) Proper footwear
8.) Check the weather
What to carry
10.) First Aid Kit (bandages and moleskin for blisters are a must!)
11.) Snacks/quick sugar
12.) Rain Gear---multiple purpose besides rain: extra layer for warmth, extra clothing, etc.
13.) Compass/ GPS/ AllTrails App/ Map
14.) Extra socks... Nothing worse than hiking in wet socks (especially if you have kids)! Wool socks (year-round) are the best.
15.) Water and/or electrolyte drink
16.) Pocket knife/ Leatherman
Thorns and Roses
17.) What did you like or do different next time?
18.) Did you practice Leave No Trace?
19.) Did you have enough supplies?
While you’re exploring, make sure to practice the principles of Leave No Trace. When your hike is over, set aside some time to consider what you liked or what you didn’t, what you would do differently next time and if you packed enough supplies. Paying attention to these things now will help you better plan future hikes.
Finally, leave everything in your day pack for your next trip. You’ll be packed and ready for your next adventure in a moment’s notice.