x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Be safe during hikes in the mountains

How to in the UAE: The UAE's rugged mountains hold great attraction for visitors and residents, but they also hold great dangers for amateurs.

There are a number of steps you should take before hiking in the UAE's mountains.
There are a number of steps you should take before hiking in the UAE's mountains.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // The UAE's rugged mountains hold great attraction for visitors and residents, but they also hold great dangers for amateurs.

"There's always an element of risk and there are no real rescue services," said Barbara Couldrey, who has hiked in the country since 1994. "Don't just take off."

Go with someone who knows the route, as there are no marked trails. Tell people where you are going and what time you expect to return. Take a mobile phone but remember that reception can be poor in the mountains.

Pack lots of water. Take at least three litres of water for a one-day hike in winter. Hydrate before you go and leave water at your vehicle for your return.

Pack a comfortable rucksack with a head torch and a first-aid kit that contains rehydration salts, antihistamines, glucose tablets, antiseptic cream and a support bandage.

A guide may want to carry a space blanket for emergencies, and it gets cold in the winter.

High-energy light food makes the best snacks. Dates, olives and energy bars are nourishing.

"All the locals eat dates and there's a good reason for it," Ms Couldrey said.

"They're full of energy and are not messy to take."

Wear sunscreen, a hat and a long, loose shirt to protect against sunburn. In winter, take a light windbreaker.

"A lot of people say they can hike but you get them in the mountains and it's not what they expect at all," Ms Couldrey said.

Most trails in RAK have a lot of exposure and loose stones. Try walks in wadi beds before you head to the hills to adjust to the terrain, even if you are an experienced walker.

 

azacharias@thenational.ae