The Hikers Network is more than a hiking club. Above everything, we are a  family made up of mountain lovers from all walks of life who dedicate their free time to serving mountain users like yourself, either by tracking your hikes, participating in rescue operations, or doing other tasks. We would like to introduce some of these fantastic volunteers to you. This week: Paula Faria (39), a SafetyMountain Tracker and Search & Rescue volunteer.

What do you do within The Hikers Network?
As a SafetyMountain Tracking tracker, I monitor our WhatsApp tracking groups and follow up if hikers fail to check out or if there is a problem. I often get direct messages for advice.

When and why did you join The Hikers Network/SafetyMountain Tracking?
A few years back. I think the work they do is incredible, not just from a tracking and rescue point of view, but opening the world of hiking to underprivileged youth.

What does hiking mean to you? 
Hiking means freedom from the stresses of the world. I can’t imagine anything better after work than sitting on the top of a mountain at night looking down at the City.

What piece of equipment should everyone carry whilst hiking? 
Rope, you can do so much with it.

What is your favourite trail and why? 
Platteklip Gorge ha ha ha…..anything, but…..

What are your best hiking safety tips to help prevent emergencies (injury, dehydration, crime, etc) 
1) Always carry too much water
2) Hike in groups and avoid hotspots as much as possible
3) Always be prepared for any emergency by carrying warm clothes, headlamp, a map, and emergency food rations.
4) I found an old CD works well in catching the light so the Red Cross Air Mercy Service (the helicopter) can spot you easily.

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