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Search and Rescue offers safety tips for hiking in Red River Gorge on 4th of July

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jul 02, 2020

WOLFE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Wolfe County Search and Rescue is reminding people to be safe by thoroughly prepare before going on a hike in the Red River Gorge during the 4th of July weekend.

Search and Rescue Chief John May said they expect a high volume of people at the Red River Gorge over the weekend. Last year, the team responded to five emergencies in the Gorge during the holiday weekend, according to May.

May said because Saturday and Sunday will be hot, it is especially important for people to hydrate early and frequently.

“Always hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I mean, carry more water than you think you’ll need,” said May. “Even having a water purification system is a great thing to throw in your bag because if you were to get out there and run out of water, you’d have the means to treat water so you can drink it safely.”

May also recommended researching trails before a hike and having both a cell phone with GPS and a physical map on hand.

“Cell signal is kind of spotty. You know, you can’t always rely on that,” he said.

May stressed the importance of not veering away from designated trails.

“But if you do go in those areas, be sure you know where you’re at and how to get back out because if you’re just somewhere out in the Red River Gorge area and we don’t have a good indication where you are off-trail and we can’t get a coordinate off your mobile device, then it’s very problematic for us to find you,” said May.

If you are ever in trouble, May said it’s better to ask for help sooner rather than later.

“We’re more than happy to come out and assist if you find yourself in trouble. But the sooner you can let us know, the better. And once you do make contact with us, we recommend people stay in position. A lot of times we can get a coordinate from your mobile device and we know where you are and that’s where we’re going to but if you leave that spot, then we’re back to searching for you again.”

Lastly, May recommended letting someone know what trail you plan to be on and at what time you expect to be there.