The Exchange: Safe Hiking in the Rugged Aleutians

Thursday, March 19 2015

Credit: Jeri Rosenthal

With its ocean views and rolling, tundra-covered hills, Unalaska Island is a hiker's paradise. It's also beset by fickle weather and tough to navigate at times.

In this segment of The Exchange, two Unalaska public safety experts share their tips for safely exploring the island on foot. 

What Sgt. Jennifer Shockley always carries with her:

"When I go out on a day hike, at a minimum -- no matter what time of year it is -- I've got rain gear, some kind of insulating layer, a hat and gloves, water, a little bit of food, a very basic first aid kit. Some kind of light, and it may just be the light on my phone, but something I can use to find my way or [as] a signaling device. Those kind of things, carried in a day pack, are no more than 10 pounds. It's not like you're adding a significant burden to what you're carrying."

Whether it's a full backpacking trip or short trek, Fire Chief Zac Schasteen suggests the motto, "HIKE SAFE":

Have a plan.
Inform someone where you're going and when you'll be back from your trip.
Keep a flashlight and whistle with you at all times.
Eat well before and during your trip and stay hydrated.

Stay on the trail.
Ask for help if you need it.
Familiarize yourself with the area and use a map.
Expect changes in the weather.

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