Fall hiking safety tips

BRISTOL - It is starting to feel like fall outside and look like it too.

Storm Track 5's meteorologists think this is the peak weekend to see the colors.

Cooler temperatures also mean more risk of hypothermia if you find yourself lost on a hiking trail after dark.

We spoke to Steele Creek Park Nature Center employee Larry McDaniel about the risks of fall hiking.

"The first thing I tell them is make sure they get a trail map," said McDaniel, referencing the hikers.

McDaniel told us even with a map and marked trails, hikers get off track.

"People get do get lost out there a lot usually because they don't know what they're getting into," he said.

This can become life-threatening, especially as the days get shorter, bringing cooler temperatures.

"I would have to say that it is more dangerous because some people do fall victim to hypothermia," he told us.

You can walk some of the trails at the park in less than an hour but McDaniel told us you should still bring warm clothes because you never know when a short hike will turn into a much longer one.

"It's a good idea to take a little more than you need that you can layer on and off, and wear sturdy shoes," McDaniel said.

We went to the store Mountain Sports Limited to find out what the best thing is to wear hiking.

Store co-owner Bobby Cheers told us it's capilene.

"That's what we recommend wearing next to your skin because it's a polyester fiber and it just transfers your sweat away from you so you stay dry," said Cheers.

Less moisture on the skin means your body won't lose as much heat as the sun goes down, he told us.

Cheers also said, wool is another good option.

He told us you should put a fleece jacket over top as insulation.

"The weather can change, the elements can change this time of year," he said. "It can be 50 or 60 degrees and the next day we can have snow."

Cheers told us you should always pack a raincoat, water and some granola bars when you head outdoors.

He agrees with Steele Creek Park's Larry McDaniel that no matter what, you should always have a map.

McDaniel told us if you do get lost on a trail, call the park ranger or 9-1-1 immediately.

It's important to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back, he said, just in case you do not have cell service.

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