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Spirit Ridge: Desert Safety

Never venture out without first making sure you possess the right gear and knowledge of the area. Here are some tips to ensure your adventure is safe, worry-free and fun.

Food and Water

Bring food, plenty of water and emergency supplies, but remember whatever you bring with you make sure you take it home when you leave.

Let Someone Know

It’s always a good practice to let someone know where you are going and which trail you intend to take.

Maps

Number one on your list should be a good map of the area you are planning to explore. Although many of the trails are marked, it’s easy to get lost or venture into uncharted terrain.

Proper Clothing

Ensure that you have the appropriate clothing and footwear so you are comfortable during your outing.

Respect the Trails

Remain on the well-marked trails so you don’t get lost or destroy untouched terrain. Always give logging trucks the right of way.

Sunscreen

It’s hot out there! Whether you are golfing, hiking, on the lake or just out for a walk, always put on sunscreen to prevent burns. We also suggest that you bring sunscreen with you so you can reapply it as often as needed.

Snakes/Rattlesnakes

Osoyoos is a desert environment, the perfect home for rattlesnakes. The snakes hibernate in the winter months and generally come out again in the early spring. The resident biologist for the NK’MIP Desert & Heritage Centre’s Rattlesnake Research Program has some helpful information on rattlesnakes in the area. It is important to stress that they are shy creatures and are also a protected species (meaning that they are protected by law).

Rattlesnake Facts

  • Rattlesnakes are more afraid of you then you are of them
  • They rely on camouflage to protect themselves. Usually they will not give away their location and rely on blending into their surroundings, letting people pass by
  • If a rattlesnake feels threatened (i.e. someone steps too close or it feels cornered), it will give a quick rattle and try to escape
  • Rattlesnakes will only bite if they have given a warning rattle while trying to escape and a person chases the snake, tries to pick it up, or if the snake is directly stepped on (very rare as they usually rattle before this happens)

If you see a Rattlesnake

  • Take note of its exact location
  • Back away slowly and avoid that area
  • Immediately report the sighting to staff of the NK’MIP Desert & Heritage Centre or Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa
  • The snake will be captured and relocated by the staff at the NK’MIP Desert & Heritage Centre. Remember that snakes are timid, protected by law, and will not bite unless provoked

Safety Tips

  • Always be aware of where hands and feet are placed – look first!
  • Always wear shoes and carry a flashlight when out after dark
  • Always stay on the paths and avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush
  • Use a walking stick when hiking – if you come across a snake, it can strike the stick instead of you.
  • Always look for concealed snakes before picking up rocks, sticks or firewood
  • Always check carefully around stumps or logs before sitting down
  • When climbing, always look before putting your hands in a new location as snakes can climb walls, trees and rocks and are frequently found at high altitudes
  • Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming – rattlesnakes are excellent swimmers!
  • Baby rattlesnakes can and do bite, and they are poisonous, so leave them alone
  • Never hike alone. Have a buddy to help in case of an emergency and learn basic life-saving methods
  • Never tease a snake to see how far it can strike. You can be several feet from the snake and still be within striking distance
  • Teach children to respect snakes and to leave snakes along.
  • Always give snakes the right of way!

Treating a Rattlesnake Bite
Rattlesnake bites are not fatal to a healthy adult and rarely kill people. Unprovoked rattlesnake bites rarely occur.

If someone is bitten:

  • Keep them calm and their heart rate down
  • Get them to the hospital by driving them or by ambulance to receive an anti-venom

Several Dont's are very important to remember in the event of a bite:

  • DON’T apply a tourniquet
  • DON’T pack the bite area in ice
  • DON’T cut the wound with a knife or razor
  • DON’T use your mouth to suck out the venom
  • DON’T let the victim drink alcohol