You’ve probably seen some amazing photos of the Rocky Mountains, their majestic peaks soaring above the clouds. It’s no wonder camping and hiking in the Rockies is so popular. But when you get right to it the wilderness can be intimidating at least and quite dangerous at worst.
So preparing for a camping or hiking trip to the Rockies is a good idea no matter how long you plan on visiting.
Below we list a few of the items to keep in mind when preparing for an adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Gear up for Emergencies and Bad Weather:
The weather up in the mountains can change rapidly so being prepared for whatever might come your way is vitally important. It may seem like a nice hot summer day at the base but as you climb in elevation temps cool off fast. Some of the items recommended by the official Rocky Mountain National Park website include waterproof matches in an air tight container, a space blanket for emergencies, a first-aid kit, rain gear, sunblock, flashlight, compass, and detailed map of the area.
It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you expect to be so if anything happens they will know where to start looking.
Bugs and Ticks
Bugs and the outdoors come hand in hand. If you aren’t prepared it can ruin an adventure. Avoid camping next to stagnant water, streams, or lakes. Building a fire in the evening will also help keep the bugs away because the smoke acts as a repellent.
Another big concern is ticks. Ticks can carry limes disease and other nasty things. Check your self every day for ticks that have hitched a ride. They like to crawl to the warmest part of the body so make sure to check your crevices.
Prepare for Altitude Sickness
Being one of the tallest mountain ranges in the US you may have to deal with altitude sickness the higher up you get. Symptoms to look out for include dizziness, headache, nausea and difficulty breathing.
If you ever notice the onset of these symptoms stop where you are. If symptoms subside you may continue, if not descend 1000 to 2000 feet and rest again. If symptoms persist seek medical attention.
Mountain Lion Encounters
The Rockies are full of wildlife and wild animals – it’s one of the greatest attractions and reasons to visit. But precautions need to be taken to stay safe. Mountain lions are one such creature to look out for. Knowing how to handle an encounter can save your life.
The National Park Service recommends slowly backing away while facing the mountain lion. If you can make yourself seem bigger by picking up a large stick, or waving your hands in the air. If you are hiking with children pick them up – the mountain lion will sense you are protecting your young.
If the mountain lion reacts with aggression, throw rocks, yell, and wave your arms in the air to intimidate it. Typically mountain lions are just as scared of you as you are of it so they rarely become confrontational.
Being Smart Around Bears
Bears are another abundant animal in the mountains. And they can be pesky scavengers – so keep your food secure especially at night. Using food lockers or hanging containers that can be lifted high off the ground can go a long way toward keeping bears away in the first place. Never store food in your car unless it is in airtight containers as bears will do some pretty significant damage trying to get in.
The previous examples are some of the most important things to keep in mind when camping in the Rockies. If you keep these things in mind your trip will be fun, exciting, and most importantly safe.