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Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Vosges, France - Cautions and Dangers

Even though the Vosges in France are magnificent and worthy of a visit, you need to keep in mind that hiking in the mountains is not entirely without any dangers.

You would do wisely to take some precautions before heading out and heed the following warnings:

- The weather in the mountains is quite unpredictable and can change in an instant. Make sure to check the weather and the forecast before heading out and let someone know where you are going.
- Don't wander off, but stick to your plans and destination. Should something go wrong then you will be found quicker.
- Be aware of the fact that avalanches are quite common and occur often.
- It is advisable to use snow tires in winter when taking a car.
- Some roads may be closed during winter. Do not ignore these 'Route Barre' signs, but turn around and take another road. You can and should check beforehand which roads are open or closed.
- Hiking in winter means wading through deep snow. Bring snow shoes or skis, or rent them locally.
- Due to heavy snowfall, you may not be aware of sharp metals, barbed wire, or holes underneath it. Be very careful as you go along.
- Ensure to hike back and forth during daylight. Keep in mind daylight hours are much less during winter.
- Hunting season is from September to February and the possibilities of being shot are real and present. You can prevent accidents by avoiding areas which are posted with signs like 'chasseurs' or 'chasse gardée', because those are the hunting grounds.
- High altitude symptoms and hyperthermia can occur; dress warm and take it slow.
- Beware of poisonous snakes during summer.

With all that in mind, you ought to be able to safely and fully enjoy all the beauty the Vosges will unfold before your eyes!



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