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Hiking safety tips

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Yakima, WASH.--Two recent hiking incidents reminds us that one of people's favorite activities in Central Washington is not always safe.

The Kittitas County Sheriff's department was busy this weekend searching for and saving hikers.

A 54-year old Seattle man died after falling down a steep embankment in the Mineral Creek Area, and a different male hiker from Seattle was rescued after having a medical emergency. Local hikers said they have to be just as cautious here.

Brian Bimbi, an experienced hiker, said "Being a few feet away from the edge might seem safe. A lot of the rocks can shift and give way. There's a lot of loose gravel that can really send you down."

Dehydration is another major issue hikers face. Cowiche Canyon offers some beautiful sights but leaves hikers with little shade.

"It's surprising how fast just a small jug can go if you go with a big group so you really want to take a lot of water per person," said Bimbi.

Big 5 Sporting Goods in Yakima sells an assortment of safety gear. Employees said that Hi-Tech Boots have a deep tread and are good for navigating tough terrain. They also sell a backpack that has a built in safety feature.

Big 5 Sporting Goods employee Konnor Wyckoff said, "It actually has a whistle on it {the backpack}, and so if you're ever in any danger and you want to alert obviously friends and family it has that feature on it."

The Camelback Hydration Pack is another popular item among hikers.

"It would last you, I'd probably say a day or two with sufficient hydration just because they range from about 40 liters to a 60 liter capacity," said Wyckoff.

The Hi-Tech Backpack costs around $70, and the Hydration Pack ranges around $30.

Also, hikers remember that you are likely to have poor cell phone reception so be sure to always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.