PHOENIX — More and more people are getting out and hiking the Valley’s mountains, but many of them are not prepared and may get into trouble.
Firefighters have already performed 133 mountain rescues in Phoenix in the first seven months of this year. They rescued a total of 153 in 2013.
According to the city of Phoenix website, there is no other agency in the United States that goes on as many mountain rescues as the Phoenix Fire Department.
Popular hiking spots include Piestewa Peak, which alone receives over 100,000 visitors a year, as well as Camelback, North, Papago, South and Lookout & Shadow mountains.
On average, two or three people die while hiking Valley trails annually.
While most hiking tips are common sense, people often forget the basic rules to stay safe.
Hydration is key, even hours before hitting the trails. Dehydration happens quickly, especially during summer months, and can be extremely dangerous.
The most common injury that occurs when hiking is twisted ankles — hiking boots or something with plenty of ankle support is preferred.
According to the city website, most people also get in trouble for getting off the trails. When a hiker leaves the trail, he or she is damaging the area, and there are laws against this.
It is important to remember that parks are closed from dusk to dawn, and it is against the law to be in them during this time.
Most importantly, make sure somebody knows where you are going and when you are planning to come back.