When you go out on a trek with Just Roughin' It, we take safety very seriously. Although there are some hazards out there, with some knowledge and preparation you'll be fine. We'll be there every step of the way, so if you follow our lead and use a little common sense, everything will go swimmingly - unless you actual try to swim a waterfall. Then we will have some problems. But not everyone goes on a hike with a guide and you are more than welcome to hike in Yosemite without one. Here are just a few tidbits of information for anyone planning a hike into Yosemite's wilderness.
Yosemite National Park offers some of the most amazing sights you'll see anywhere in the world. When you're out hiking or far away from shelter in the park, sometimes the weather can change rapidly. I know it's happened to me a time or two along the way. Afternoon thunderstorms are pretty common in Yosemite and can be severe. The lightning is usually bad and there is often hail involved as well. You don't want to be hiking up Half Dome or in Yosemite Valley when one of these storms come along. You'll want to stay away from any of the high peaks (and there's a lot of them in Yosemite), caves, or wet areas. Try and set up camp before noon if you can and you'll be sure to avoid the majority of weather swings.
So often we are asked if we can take people on a hike in October, April and even February. As a company, we do not offer trips in Yosemite, but that does not mean there are not things to do. However, the Sierras see a lot of snow in the winter and may not melt off well into lat Spring. You can even find it in the higher reaches of the park into July. This means that if you're planning on hiking up high, always be prepared and cautious. Sometimes snow can hide treacherous conditions for hiking and can make it dangerous. Be certain you are prepared with proper footwear, traction devices for the ice and a lot of warm clothing or gear depending on how long you are plannig to be in the backcountry. Always check the weather before heading out and even stop by the nearest ranger stantion for updated trail conditions. For a really good example of what not to do, be certain to research the Donner Party. Let's just say you know it's bad when you look at your best friend's thigh and hallucinate a bucket of chicken.
Out on the trails in Yosemite, you are destined to run into some animals along the way. Most of them are fun to encounter and make the trip memorable. However, some of the animals can be dangerous if you don't act appropriately. For example, if you see a bear on the trail, don't approach it or expect it to pose with you for a selfie. Know that it can hurt or kill you very easily, but it probably won't bother you if you don't provoke it. If you have small children, make sure that they stay close to you on the trail. There are mountain lions throughout the park and the last thing you want is for your child to run into one alone. They usually don't attack people, but you'll still want to stay as far away as possible. If you encounter one, try to look bigger and make a lot of noise. Whatever you do, don't run, because it can run faster than you. Your best bet is to scare it away or run faster than your friends. The most common encounter with animals are from them scavaging camp areas for food. So the best course of action, store ALL food and scented items in a bear proof canister. For more tips, click here.
Overall, Yosemite is a magnificent place that will present you, your family and friends with life-long memories. Just remember to be safe when you're out on the trails and please, do more WWAAYYYY more research that just reading this article.
What more stuff to read? Check out what Just Roughin' It has to offer for a guided hiking trip. Want more way cool tips and just plain fun stuff to look at while on that awkward blind date? Check out our blog!