Hiking, especially in the beautiful Chihuahuan Desert, can be a real pleasure but only if you follow some basic precautions and plan ahead:
What to wear
As with hiking or walking anywhere, you want to be sure that you wear the correct shoes or boots, wear clothing that protects you from potential environmental hazards such as thorny and prickly plants, bug bites, sunburn, even snake bites which are extremely rare. Sturdy footwear and proper socks protect you from foot and leg injuries. Use sunscreen lotion with the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation and carry or wear additional clothing in case the weather should turn cold. Use a hiking stick to help your balance.
Take lots of water
Most importantly, carry more water than you can possibly need. It will get lighter and lighter as you hike. Carrying enough water is particularly critical when hiking in the El Paso region during the hot summer. Have adequate first aid on hand and any prescription or over the counter medicines in case the hike is unexpectedly delayed. It is always best to start and end hikes during the cooler parts of the day. Nevertheless, be prepared in case your hike goes longer or gets delayed.
Hike with someone
Avoid hiking alone and make sure that someone else knows your plans – and, then, stick to your plan. Take a cell phone but don’t expect it to work everywhere you go.
Know where you're going
Become familiar with the trail you are planning to use. It is best to go with someone who has made the hike before and is aware of the terrain and conditions. In addition to Celebration of Our Mountains, There are several local hiking groups that plan and lead regular outings.
Stay on the trail
Stay on the trail. Bushwhacking can get you lost and punctured. Don’t climb up or down any formation unless you are sure there is a way to get back down or up. Never go where you are not allowed.
Check the weather
Check the weather before you go and know what the prediction is. Do not hike in thunderstorms. Stay out of arroyos and canyons during rains. A trickle of rain can turn into a life-threatening flash flood in a matter of seconds. Carry some kind of collapsible rain gear with you.
Know and follow the regulations for any area. Learn about the wildlife and the plant life so you can be aware of any potential dangers. In national and state parks, use the leave no trace outdoor ethics. Take care of the environment and cherish each ecosystem. Carry a large plastic bag to carry out your trash or litter that you might find.