Sitka has more trails than you can shake a walking stick at. The outdoors is a crucial part of enjoying your Sitka experience. Before you set out on your grand adventure, make sure you are prepared for your trek. Here are the must-have items you need out on the trail.
Sitka experiences cold temperatures and above average rainfall. The terrain can be rough and rocky, so bring proper hiking boots on the trail. Remember to bring multiple layers and proper rain gear. Pack an extra pair of dry socks for walking through wet forests to avoid damp socks and creating blisters. Bring an insulating hat and gloves to keep you dry and warm. Always pack more clothes than you need, as weather can change quickly on a mountainside.
Traditionally, you would bring a map of the trail and surrounding area with a compass to navigate the terrain. Modern hikers tend to prefer GPS apps to make their travels simpler. You can use an app like GAIA GPS to plan your hikes and guide you through your journey. Remember to bring a battery source for your phone so it doesn’t run out of juice during your hike.
Brown bears are the only type of bear that live in the Sitka area. Encounters are rare, but they do occur! Make sure to create noise on your hike, ensuring the bear is aware of your approach. If all else fails and the bear does attack, bear spray can be used to blind or disorientate the bear. A can of bear spray goes for around 35 bucks and is a necessary purchase for the more wild parts of our environment.
No one plans on getting injured on their hike, but it is a very real possibility. Bandages of varying sizes, gauze pads, medical tape, disinfectant spray or ointment, and pain medication are always good to have on hand. Don’t forget to bring doses of any medication you are currently on. Experienced hikers usually prep their own first aid pack and bring far more than just the basic necessities.
Brush Clearing Tool
Sometimes it can be hard to find a trail, or the trail has brush covering it. Use a breaking stick or machete to clear our your path. These tools can double as potential protection in case of a predator.
Food and Water
Bring items that don’t require a heat source to eat. Trail mix, nuts, berries, energy bars, and jerky are all perfect to bring on the trail. Make sure to pack enough food for an extra day in case you get stranded or injured while on your hike.
A good rule of thumb to remain hydrated on your hike is to drink 1 liter per hour of strenuous hiking at high elevations. Make sure your water is from a clean source or use sterilization tablets to purify drinking water from a stream. Stay healthy and hydrated by drinking water prior to your hike.
Fire Starting Materials
Being able to start a fire is crucial if you are planning on camping overnight, but you should also bring these materials even if you plan to take a short hike. If you were to get lost in the forest you will need a way to boil water, stay warm, and potentially cook a meal.
The sun rises at 8:30am and goes down in Sitka at 3:30pm during winter. If your hike ends up taking too long, there is a good chance you could be stuck in the woods when it is dark. Bring along a headlamp or flashlight to navigate the forest safely. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries in case your light source loses power.