Get your hiking boots on because the weather is perfect for a trek through the high desert arid grasslands in Arizona. Anywhere in the Route 66 region around Kingman or Peach Springs is ideal. Meadview and the Grand Canyon West are totally hospitable in November. It gets cool enough at night to put on a winter coat while stargazing but during the daylight hours the sun warms the environment to a very comfortable level in the mid to high 70’s. The stinging and biting critters are not quite as rampant at this time of the year – they are retreating from the cooler air.
You may find yourself hiking through the junipers at the base of the Hualapai Mountains, along a canyon rim or through the Joshua tree forest but wherever you choose to enjoy the great Arizona out-of-doors there are a few things you can do to stay safe and enjoy the experience.
1. Take along a backpack with a couple bottles of water and some snack foods. Even though the weather is cooler the air is still dry and you can become dehydrated. Some high protein foods such as nuts or food bars will help maintain your energy.
2. Before you start your hike, set a time limit and don’t go over it. The Arizona landscape can be deceiving – objects in the distance can be farther than they appear so don’t get caught out in the desert with a long hike back to your vehicle when you are exhausted or running out of daylight.
3. Take a hiking buddy with you. Things can happen in the remoteness of the desert that warrants having an exercise partner with you. Carry working cell phones or two-way radios in case of emergency. Before you leave, let someone at home know where you are going and when you expect to return.
5. Take your safety seriously. Even though the rattlers, scorpions and tarantulas are acting dormant this month, don’t take unnecessary risks. Never put your hands into rocky crevices or places that you can’t see. Put bells on your hiking boots to frighten off the snakes. They are typically shy and will head for cover if they hear you coming. Walk around shrubs or low bushes where critters could be hiding. Carry a walking stick that you can use to rattle the brush if you need to pass close to it. Take a can of pepper spray or oven cleaner just in case you do encounter something poisonous. And yes, definitely take a snake bite kit and a compact first aid kit. Invest in a lightweight emergency survival kit, sunscreen and a hat as well.