Hiking hazards during the Monsoon - Tucson News Now

Hiking hazards during the Monsoon

Despite the cloudy skies and rumbling thunder, hundreds of people took advantage of the cooler temperatures on Saturday to head to the trails.

During the Monsoon though, all hikers need to be aware of several hazards, to ensure their safety.

It can be one of the most dangerous times of the year, to be up on a remote trail.  The threat of flash floods, lightning strikes, and landslides due to erosion are very real.

John Hall was one of many hikers taking advantage of the breezy day to hike at Sabino Canyon.

"I won't turn around until I hear thunder.  You can kind of hear it rumbling in the canyon right now," said Hall.

The hazards became all too real in August of 2007 when a wall of water rolled through Bear Canyon, pulling two hikers into the current and sending about 50 others to higher ground.

The two hikers who were swept away in that current died.

Officials say the Monsoon can be very unpredictable.  The rains could suddenly sneak up on you.

"When there's dark clouds and there's water, you know gravity is going to take its course.  It's best to stay out of the washes," said Hall.

Another big concern for hikers was loose boulders and slippery rocks. 

Hiker Shawn Brown said he made sure he had shoes with good grip, and that his shoelaces were tightly bound.

"A lot of the ground here is decomposing granite that can slip away, even though it looks solid,"  said Brown.

Lightning strikes were also a big concern.  Officials said the best rule of thumb if you got stuck in the middle of a lightning storm was to stay off ridges and peaks, stay out of shallow caves, and stay away from water and tall trees that could come falling down.

"If I do see lightning, I'll turn around.  I stay on the road way and away from trees and tall cactus," said Hall.

Officials also advised hikers to check the weather forecast before heading out.  If you know storms are looming, try to be in an area with cell phone coverage. 

Also try to hike in a group if possible, so if one person gets hurt, others can go and get help.

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