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Hiking in Flagstaff

Drink plenty of water! Due to elevation and low-humidity, you may not feel yourself sweat, BUT you are losing lots of water from your body through evaporation off of your skin and just from breathing the dry air.

Flagstaff is at 7000' above sea level.  Allow yourself time to acclimate.

Dangers:

Cell Phones

Relying on a cell phone is probably the number one danger hikers currently face. Do NOT rely on your cell phone!

Bring paper maps and know how to use them. Do NOT expect cell service on the trails or in the woods.
Cell phones use more power when they are struggling to get a signal and the battery will die much quicker in the woods than in the city.
I have personally seen wrong GPS locations on cell phones by as much as a mile or more.
Attempts by Search and Rescue to triangulate your position from a cell phone signal can be off by dozens of miles.
(Triangulation takes 3 different cell towers connecting to your phone, which is rarely the case in rural areas).

Dehydration:

Due to the high altitude and exteremly dry weather, most people will not experience significant sweating, but will still lose a lot of water through evaporation.
Additionally a lot of water is lost just through breathing the thin, dry air. Drink plenty of water, but also eat plenty. Be sure to eat, especially if you have lost your appetite. Eating is an important part of stying hydrated. Your body needs to replenish minerals to stay hydrated.

Black Plague: 

The fleas on Praire Dogs often carry the Plague.  If you have symptoms, including swollen Lymph Nodes, seek medical advice. 

Anti-biotics are effective in treating the plague.

Poison Hemlock:

See pictures of poison Hemlock here:

http://www.kingcounty.gov/services/environment/animals-and-plants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification/poison-hemlock.aspx

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac

If you touch one of these plants, wash your hands immediately in cold water and soap.
Hot water is not recommended because it opens your pores.
The "poison" in all of these plants is Urushiol - an oily substance that can cause a rash and itch that can last for weeks.
The inital rash may take up to 48 hours to show up and may continue to spread for a couple weeks.
Thoroughly wash all contaminated clothing, including shoes in water and, preferably, dish soap.
The most important thing is to wash as soon as possible - preferabbly within a few minutes of contact.
Poison Ivy and Oak have 'leaves of three'. Poison Sumac has an odd number that can vary (11,13, etc).

Black Widow Spiders:

Black widow spiders are identified by a bright red hour-glass shape on their bellies.
Their bites are poisonous. Children especially should go to the Emergency room if bitten.

Rattlesnakes:

Rattlesnakes are rare at high elevations, however the area around Sandy's Canyon including The Pit climbing area is known for rattlesnakes.
Not every bite ends up in venom being injected. If there is venom injected, symptoms will show up quickly.
Transport the person to the hospital immediately for anti-venom.

Rabid Animals:

Rabies is not uncommon in and around Flagstaff.
Skunks and Foxes have been found with rabies. These animals tend to be nocturnal, so if seen during the daytime or if aggressive, it may be due to rabies.
If bitten by any animal, seek medical attention.

Help Build and Maintain Trails

This is a great way to meet new outdoorsy people, while helping to improve our great trail system.

Planned trail work days - Official US Forest Service Volunteer Opportunity Schedule:

 

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