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Local hikers tout safety while encouraging people to hit the trails this fall

Samantha Morrill

Enthusiasts said hiking is one of the best ways to get out and see the colors of the fall trees but also warn to be mindful of trail safety when going out.

Fall is a safer time to hike according to officials, because snakes aren’t as active and there’s a lower chance of heat related injuries. Elizabeth Matera is Hiking Leader for the Cave Run Lake Chapter of the Sheltowee Trace Association. She said even with those benefits, cooler weather isn’t a reason to be less aware of surroundings while hiking.

“You just want to be sure that people are aware of the possibility of slick rocks, especially as leaves are falling and covering rocks. I did have one injury at one point, not on any kind of hill or rock scramble, just somebody walking along, they stepped on a slick rock hidden by leaves and broke their ankle,” said Matera

Brain Buelterman, Backpacking and Orienteering professor at Morehead State University and Hike Leader for the Sheltowee Trace Association, said there are several important things to bring on a hike in every season.

“You need ten basic things. So, we’ve got food, water, fire, which are all pretty self-explanatory. Fix-it, duct tape is very handy in a lot of situations. Insulation, first aid, illumination, it’s always good to have a flashlight, navigation, sun safety, and some sort of shelter. So, those are great things to always carry, no matter what the weather is and what season it is,” said Buelterman.

Additionally, Matera and Buelterman both stressed the importance of wearing good hiking shoes that are tied tightly.

There are many ways for hikers of all skill levels to get involved locally. Matera and the rest of the Cave Run Lake Chapter host group hikes at varying ability levels during spring and fall. More information can be found on their Facebook page or by emailing crlc@sheltoweetrace.org. Buelterman also teaches a one-credit-hour course at MSU every semester that covers the basics of backpacking and orienteering.