The great outdoors offers many nature lovers opportunities and tips for hiking and biking but what about tips for those with a disability? There are many people who have always enjoyed fun activities such as hiking until they developed a disability. Here are a few tips for anyone who loves hiking but think they can no longer enjoy the wilderness because of their disability.
Locate boardwalks with good access
One of the biggest tips to offer those hiking with a disability is to know that many hiking and biking trails that are located in state and national parks are designated as handicapped accessible. You can either locate phone numbers online or your phonebook to call and find out just where these trails are. Some of the websites offer detailed information but others do not, so don’t just rely on this. Call and find out the closest trail near your home and don’t let your disability get in the way of enjoying nature. Other tips include the fact that some parks also offer restrooms for the disabled.
Let someone know where you are going hiking and when
One of the most important tips for anyone hiking with a disability is to notify family and/or friends of when you will go and return from your hiking adventure and the location. Many backpackers and other long distance adventurers usually take this precaution in case of an emergency. Having a disability may place you in greater danger but don’t let this keep you from enjoying what you love. Hiking tips for those with a disability should always include this important recommendation.
Take your cell phone hiking
Other hiking tips to ensure the safety of those with a disability include remembering to take your cell phone. Many cell phone companies have decent coverage and your cell phone will work in many areas of the forest. Normally, most people leave it off or turn the ringer off while hiking or biking in nature but good tips for hikers with a disability should include the recommendation to leave yours on. If your family knows you have left the ringer on and you have not returned in a reasonable time, they can call you to get an update. If you do not answer, that could be a signal to your family or friends to send help.
Take along a friend who understands your disability
Taking along just any friend may not be the best thing. Other hiking tips to ensure your safety include having someone there who understands your disability to help you enjoy yourself without pushing too hard. A friend or family member should be familiar with trouble signs of your disability and recognize them more quickly than a friend who cares but does not have a good understanding of what you may go through.
Don’t give up
For those who love the outdoors, don’t assume there are no safe boardwalks to enjoy and that hiking with a disability is a far stretch. If you’re disability seems to be an invisible one like lung or heart problems, these hiking tips will also help you too. Just because someone is able to hike trails without boardwalks does not mean they still shouldn’t take along their phone or let others know where they are going and when to expect them back. Tips for those with a disability should always make room for the brighter side of things.
Learning to adjust to a disability doesn’t mean you have to abandon the things you love, such as nature. Use these hiking tips to help develop a good list of trails for yourself and enjoy the great outdoors. Tips for dealing with any disability can always be helpful.
More tips from Teresa:
Hiking in the Georgia Oconee National Forest: Lower Portion
Hiking in the Georgia Oconee National Forest: Upper Portion