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Hiking the Trails

Trails

Hamilton has an abundance of natural trails, conservation areas, and parks for individuals to explore. Check out the trails and various places to explore at: http://www.mcmaster.ca/nature/hiking/trails.html

Trail Safety and Etiquette

When going on hike or outdoor adventures it is always important to consider the following tips to ensure that you have a fun and safe experience.

Food, Water, Self

  • Always bring a bottle of water, a snack, sunscreen, insect repellent and a hat
  • Be sun safe, by applying sunscreen and wearing a hat, and bug smart by applying insect repellent.
  • Be self aware; know your limits and physical capabilities and do not attempt difficult hikes or climbs.  If you are tired take a break, if you are cold layer up, and if you are thirsty then drink plenty of water.
  • Bring a buddy; it's always more fun going on an adventure with friends and company keeps you safe while on hikes.
  • Layer up; on cold, rainy or winter hikes be sure to wear layers of clothing to keep yourself warm
  • HYDRATE; don't wait to drink water until you get thirsty, keep drinking and drink some more (water that is)

Common Sense and Safety

  • Check; the weather, notices of trail closures, and local advisories
  • Be Alert; of the trail, cliffs, poisonous plants and your surroundings. It's best to stay on marked trails and note any signs or advisories that may be posted.
  • If you are biking make sure to wear a helmet
  • Bring a buddy; it's always more fun going on an adventure with friends and company keeps you safe while on hikes.
  • Bring a watch and be aware of sunset, don't get stuck on trails at night accidently
  • Let someone know when going on hikes or using trails and when to expect you back.
  • If you are lost, stay in one place. Lots of people use the trails so you are bound to run into someone. Be sure to let someone know when going on trails and when to expect you back.

Look, Don't Touch

  • Stay on marked trails
  • Avoid picking plants and wildlife unknown to you – it may be poisonous
  • Avoid picking plants and wildlife Known to you – try and preserve the natural environment and not harm it
  • Do not feed or play with wild animals
  • See an injured bird or animal? Call the local wildlife center! Don't handle it yourself, it may do more harm than good.
  • Leave no trace, no litter, no disturbances. As they say, " Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time"
  • Report vandalism. Ontario's Natural Resources Tips Reporting Line is a toll-free direct line that is open 24 hours a day 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667). Tell the organization managing the trail of any destruction or damage you may encounter.

These Trail safety tips and guidelines were adapted from OntarioTrails Hike Safety and Resources site : http://www.ontariotrails.on.ca/learn/trail-resources check out the site for information on trail, hike, boat safety and etiquette

Lyme Disease and You

Today, Lyme disease is widespread across Canada, but the highest risk of exposure is in wooded areas during spring and summer months. That means construction workers, landscapers, forestry employees, brush cleaners, land surveyors, farming workers, railway employees, oil field workers, utility line employees and parks and wildlife management individuals are all at a high risk of contracting Lyme disease.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of Lyme disease typically develop within two weeks of the tick bite. Although a majority of those infected develop a rash in the shape of a bull's-eye surrounding the bite, 20 to 40 per cent of people do not exhibit this symptom at all. Instead, they may develop flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, neck stiffness, fatigue, headaches and migrating joint aches or muscle aches.

Preventing Lyme Disease

Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of contracting the infection:

  • Avoid tick habitats, which include brushy, overgrown, grassy and woody areas.
  • Remove leaves, tall grass and brush from work areas.
  • Wear light-coloured clothing to see ticks more easily.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck your pants into your boots to make it more difficult for ticks to reach your skin.
  • Wear closed-toed shoes or boots when working in grassy or wooded areas.
  • Use tick and bug repellent on your skin. Although permethrin is not safe to use on your skin, it is effective at deterring ticks when used on your clothing.
  • After working outside, check body areas where ticks are commonly found. This includes behind the knees, between fingers and toes, armpits, behind ears, on the neck and in any hairy areas.
  • Shower well, and wash and dry your clothing at high temperatures after you have been working outside.

Staying Protected

Since it is not always possible to avoid potentially dangerous animals and other pests, taking appropriate protective measures is also important:

  • Use insect or other repellents, as appropriate.
  • Keep as much of your skin covered as possible by wearing hats, socks, long sleeves, etc. Pay attention to cuffed areas such as ankles and wrists.
  • Use care and caution when working near nests or other pest homes and hiding places, such as rock piles, logs, lumber piles, old tree stumps, outdoor washrooms and old buildings.
  • Walk in open areas, wear heavy boots and carry a stick to disturb brush in front of you of snakes.

This Tick and Lyme Disease tips and guidelines were sourced from: http://hikeontario.com/ check out the site for information on trails and hiking information.