Are you trail ready?

Serpentine Jarrahdale is home to a magnificent network of local trails, but it's important you are prepared before taking the first step on your journey.

Whether you are planning a long term or trip or simply a day outdoors, thorough preparation will help keep you safe and ensure your experience is much more enjoyable.

Below are some tips on how to get "trail ready".

General tips

Safety

  • Preparation and planning are key to your safety and comfort. 
  • Do not rely on mobile phones, apps or digital devices for navigation. 

Trip Intentions Form 

Filling out the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife Trip Intention Form should be part of your action plan to mitigate risks. It is particularly important for multiple-day trips such as walking the Bibbulmun Track or riding the Munda Biddi Trail end to end.  

The form is intended to be shared with a friend or family, not Parks and Wildlife Services, WA Police or other government agencies.  

If you haven’t returned and/or contacted them by the agreed time, your friend or family can raise the alarm with the appropriate emergency services. 

Fill out the Trip Intentions Form here

GPS Locator Devices 

A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or an Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon (EPIRB) are not a substitute for poor preparation. Factors such as cloud cover could impact reception and can make it difficult to locate.

Registered GPS-enabled devices were designed for emergencies and can save lives. Some devices can also be used to maintain regular communication with your emergency contact when mobile connection is not available (subscription might be required). 

Leave no trace

Leave No Trace (LNT) principles were developed to increase public awareness of how to minimise the impacts of visiting conservation areas.

Plan and prepare

  • Be aware of your capabilities. If in a group, go at the pace of the slowest person.
  • Research your walk by visiting Trails WA website, and make sure everyone is comfortable with the planned route.
  • Seek the most up to date information about a trail (e.g. access to water), through visitor centres and social media groups.
  • Check your gear and equipment for wear and tear long enough so you have time to fix or replace them.
  • Check weather forecasts and park alerts, including about trails closures or diversions.
  • Check for the latest information on bushfires, storms, and other emergency alerts via Emergency WA
  • Download the Emergency Plus app for location and emergency services information.

Travel and camp on durable surfaces

When hiking in an area with an established trail system, stay on the path to minimize erosion. Regarding camping, remember that good campsites are found, not made. Always aim to leave a campsite the same (or even better) than how you found it.

Dispose of waste properly

  • Pack it in, Pack it out. Leave no rubbish. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for rubbish or spilled foods. Bring an extra plastic bag and pick up additional litter you see at established sites (or on the trail). Make this a habit. If other hikers see you doing it, it may just catch on.
  • Plan meals to avoid generating messy, smelly rubbish. It is critical to wildlife that we pack out kitchen waste, such as bacon grease and leftovers. Don’t count on a fire to dispose of it. Litter is not only ugly — it can also be deadly.
  • On major trails, such as the Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi Trail, huts offer toilet facilities. When none are available, identify options along the trail (like nearby towns or parking), and plan your detour accordingly. When stopping in the bush, dig a cat hole at least 15 cm deep and 60 m from the trail, camp, or water sources. After you have finished your business, pack out your used toilet paper in a sealable plastic bag, store outside your backpack, and dispose at the first bin available.

Leave what you find

  • Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.
  • Respect Indigenous heritage and culture by leaving rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Do not travel through quarantine areas.
  • Do not transport non-native material, such as firewood.
  • Check clothing and shoe soles before and after travelling in different areas, for seeds and excess mud. Clean if any.

Respect wildlife

  • Observe wildlife without disturbing it. If an animal changes its behaviour because of your presence, it means you are too close. Regarding food, never feed animals or leave behind food scraps, as it doesn’t take long for animals to become habituated to human food.
  • Snakes aren’t interested in biting hikers. Whether you’re walking down the trail, or sleeping under the stars, snakes want to avoid a potential encounter just as much as you do. But snakes will protect themselves if the need arises. So:
    1. Watch your step
    2. Make yourself heard by stomping the ground when unsure
    3. Never jump over a log, or place your hands anywhere you cannot see
    4. Trekking pole are handy when crossing overgrown path

What to pack

Making sure you have the correct equipment is key when heading out on a trails trip. Here are some things you will want to remember:

  • A comfortable day pack
  • At least 2L of water per person
  • Enough food and snacks
  • A rubbish bin bag
  • A first-aid kit adapted to your hike and personal circumstances
  • A map of the trail, or GPS file downloaded to your smart phone

What to wear

What clothing you should wear while out on a trail varies from season to season, but there are some basics that will keep you safe and comfortable while you enjoy the outdoors. These include:

  • Comfortable, protective shoes. Do not wear thongs (and especially no high heels!)
  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Windproof clothing to keep you warm
  • Lightweight layers that you can take off when you warm up and put back when you cool down.
  • Long, loose clothing to protect you from the sun, insects, and scratches.

Health and Safety

Injuries and conditions

While no one expects to incur an injury while enjoying a day out on the trails, naturally, these things can happen. Below are some common afflictions that can occur while hiking and some tips on how to avoid them.

Blisters

Blisters are due to friction, caused by ill-fitting footwear and excessive moisture.

  • Buy your shoes too big. For long hikes and in hot conditions, shoes that feel nice and snug in the store, will most probably feel tight and uncomfortable after a long day on the trail. Correct fit for hiking footwear is one finger between your heel and the back of the shoe. Before purchasing walk up and down stairs, run around the store and wiggle your toes vigorously. If there is any tightness whatsoever, the shoes are too small. Remember, your feet WILL swell.
  • Choice of footwear. Your choice of footwear should reflect the nature of the conditions in which you will be hiking. For example, in hotter conditions, look for lightweight and well-ventilated shoes. Heavy boots are better suited for rocky environments.
  • Avoid cotton socks. Cotton clings to the skin when wet, doesn’t insulate and take longer to dry. Synthetic or synthetic/merino wool blend are breathable, wick moisture away from the skin and are quick to dry.
  • Pre-taping regular trouble spots with medical tape before you hike. If you feel blister developing, stop and deal with it ASAP.
  • Air your feet regularly.

Sprains and strains

  • Pre-hike preparation: Conditioning, strengthening and flexibility are key elements to focus on prior to a hike. Aerobic fitness, strengthening exercises, and regular stretching will help you to hike more efficiently and minimise your chances of injury on the trail. Built slowly overtime, preparation for a hike should be pain free.
  • Carry a light pack. Makes a huge difference in minimising stress related injuries.
  • Appropriate footwear. Heavy boots usually equate to heavy feet by the end of a long day, increasing the risk of turning an ankle.

Chafing

Never pleasant. Most common in the groin and inner thigh area.

  • Care. Regularly wash your groin, rear, and armpit areas. Be sure to practice this ritual away from water sources, both for the benefit of the environment and the sensibilities of your fellow hikers. If water is scarce, bring along baby wipes.
  • Balm treatments can be applied in sensitive areas.

Diet

No matter whether you are a gourmet, spartan or somewhere in between, food will play a significant role in the comfort of your hike.

  • Short trips. Our body natural reserves are such that we can pretty much eat anything and still be ok.
  • Long walks. Nutritional needs (vitamins and minerals) come into play, and require more planning with considerations for quantity, quality, taste, variety and simplicity.

First-aid kit

The best first-aid kit it is unique to your medical needs and hiking conditions. Before each hike, evaluate your kit, minimising bulk and weight, and checking expiry dates. Some important items to pack in your first-aid kit include:

  • Medical tape for blisters and cuts
  • Medical gloves to prevent cross-contamination in case you need to examine someone. Remember they must be latex free, as latex is a common allergen.
  • Antiseptic or alcohol wipes for cleaning wounds.
  • Antibiotic ointment (sample size tube).
  • Hand sanitiser (repackage in mini dropper bottle)
  • Small utility tool (including a small knife, scissors, and tweezers).
  • Pain relief tablets.
  • Small whistle to signal your presence.
  • Headtorch to signal your presence at night.
  • Personal information card. Listing emergency contact and any important personal medical information.

Trail etiquette

Be considerate of other visitors. We all have different motivations for heading out into nature. Accepting and being respectful of those differences, makes for a more harmonious experience for all concerned.

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