Supplies to Bring Hiking in The Big Horn Mountains
When I think of the Big Horn Mountains, images of lush forests, wondrous peaks, and awe-inspiring vistas comes to mind. Hiking the Big Horns evokes a sense of wonder in a world seemingly undisturbed by mankind and technology. A world full of clear water, blue skies and innumerable wildlife. Before you lace up your boots and head out the door for a daylong excursion, you need to plan and prepare for your adventure by packing supplies that will ensure your day in the mountains is both memorable and safe.
Proper clothing is essential. Regardless of the time of year, hikers need to be prepared for sudden changes in the Wyoming weather. Hiking boots are highly recommended, as are the following list of articles:
- Insulated tops/bottoms
- Rain wear
- Long sleeve shirts
Remember to dress in layers and remove wet clothing as soon as possible. Additionally, an extra change of clothes in the car is a smart idea in case of sudden rain.
Bottom line: keep it dry. There’s nothing worse than a soggy walk up and down mountain trails with chilly air keeping you cold.
Though tempting to think that your iPhone might help to see you through a difficult situation (as entertaining as “Angry Birds” and “Words with Friends” may seem), there is very little cell phone reception in the mountains so do not count on it. There are many other more critical components to a hiker’s pack that will prove invaluable throughout your excursion:
- Compass or GPS
- First Aid Kit
- Matches or other fire starting products
- Emergency/Temporary Shelter (e.g. a tent or tarp)
Optional items include:
- Insect repellent
- Toilet paper
- Hiking poles
- Water filter
Remember that the iPhone or cell phone you carry can come in handy if you have reception and you or your party needs help. Cell phones, when turned on, can be tracked by law enforcement agencies in the event that you and your party need assistance, so it is often helpful to have them ready for an emergency.
The best emergency plan is to tell someone exactly where you are going and when you plan to be back. This way if you are not back they can alert the proper authorities.
Although it is important to make sure you have all the critical items packed–and some of the optional ones–check that your backpack is light enough to hike for at least eight hours. Anything over twenty-five or thirty pounds is too heavy for a full day hike in the mountains. Since this is only a day trip through the mountains, pack light but smart using the list above as a guide.
Being well-prepared means minimizing the inconvenience of random events and increasing the likelihood of a enjoyable and satisfying hike through one of this country’s most mesmerizing mountain ranges.
Other helpful tips
Have a map of the area and a plan. Register your trip with the local rangers office so they are aware of your itinerary and can assist as needed. [If you’re planning to hike in Cloud Peak National Park, you’re required to register with the Forest service.]
Have fun! The Big Horn Mountains are home to spectacular views as well as elk, deer and other animals. Document your journey with a camera and upload them to Facebook for all of your friends. Don’t forget to make plans to hike other parts of the Big Horns, whether a canyon in Cloud Peak National Forest or the largest medicine wheel site in Medicine Wheel Passage.
Proper planning, preparation and packing ensures you and your fellow hikers will savor every moment and plan for the next.
Photo Courtesy of Steve Schroeder