Wear lightweight water-proof leather boots that support the ankles.
Know Your Physical Limits:
Some hikes that are rated "easy" might be "moderate" for you.
Plan short hikes at the beginning of the season. Pace yourself on the trail. Don't start out fast and then get tired.
Plan For Food and Water:
Carry food in containers to avoid attracting unwanted animals.
Keep hydrated. Drink water before beginning a hike and drink some even if you are not thirsty.
Avoid "energy drinks". Drink water.
Don't drink from mountain streams unless you have a water purification kit.
Wear a top and bottom layer of synthetic materials or a synthetic/wool blend. Wear a mid-layer of synthetic materials that will allow for ventilation and movement.
Wear an outer layer of wool or synthetic materials that is wind proof and repels moisture.
In very cold weather insulated outer clothing and a balaclava might be needed.
A wool cap and ear protection might be needed.
Lightweight wool or synthetic gloves keep the hands warm. An inner shell and outer golves might be needed.
What To Do If You Get Lost:
Follow the STOP Rule--Stop, Think, Observe, Plan.
Stay calm. Don't panic.
Stay where you are. If a search party is looking for you, let them come to you.
Use your whistle:
One blast signals others in your hiking group to stop.
Two blasts signals for others to come to you.
Three blasts (emergency) signals for others (hiking group or search party) to come to you quickly.
Things To Carry With You:
Map and Compass or GPS Device and Know How to Use Them:
Most trails in Upstate South Carolina are well marked, but occasions might arise when a topographical map and compass will be helpful.
Be prepared to make small fires only when necessary and never leave them unattended.
For emergency use only. A whistle can be heard much farther than the human voice.
First Aid Kit and Know How to Use It.
Cell Phone Fully Charged.
Pocketknife or Multitool.
Flashlight and Batteries or Head Lamp.
Tell Someone Where You Are Going and When You Will Return:
Hike with a group, not alone.
Stay with the group. Do not wander off. If you must return to the trailhead, someone in the hiking group should go with you. (A man who recently left the group to return to his car fell off the trail. Several days later a search party found his body).
Leave a note in your car at the trailhead.
Never Throw Rocks or Debris Over the Side of the Trail:
Many trails have switchbacks and other hikers might be on the trail below you.
Check the internet and trail guide books for general information about the area.
Be aware of the length of the trail and the time necessary.
Don't begin a hike in later afternoon unless you are prepared to camp overnight.
Plan for the Weather:
Wear light-weight clothing made of synthetic materials. Avoid cotton clothing.
Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect your face and neck from sunburn.
Light colored clothing will reflect heat and repel insects. Wear an inner sock made of synthetic material.
Wear an outer sock of wool or synthetic material.