“What seems to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”
– Oscar Wilde
I have had the opportunity to do a great deal of thinking since I’ve been laid up after my surgery. One of the questions that keeps running through my mind is, what if I had been alone during that backpacking trip? What if I didn’t have my two friends there to call for help in what has proved to be one of the worst days I have ever had. Now, when I originally planned this trip, I was going to go alone but a couple of months later I asked two friends if they wanted to join me on what was supposed to be a three day adventure.
Thankfully, Ray had an app on his phone that was able to give the exact latitude and longitude of where we were. If I had been alone, I would have only been able to give a general description of where I was therefore possibly delaying my departure from the trail. Jaime immediately knew to call 911 and the Park Rangers to summon help as quickly as he could. Once again, if I had been alone, due to my physical condition I am not so sure whether I could have properly summoned help and I may have sat there for hours waiting for another hiker to come along.
When I was younger I never thought that hiking alone could be a dangerous activity. I spent many days in the woods and my family didn’t even know where I was or when I was going to be back. I never thought for one second that I would ever get hurt hiking!
However, as I started to get older, I decided that it was probably in my best interest to leave an itinerary, just in case. So what info do I leave my family?
- The first thing I do is write down the name of the trail map(s) I will be using. Next, I make sure that I carefully detail what trails I will be hiking on. The most important thing to remember about this one? Never, ever deviate from the information that you leave for your family!!
- Make sure that after you write the information down you tell someone that you are going hiking and that you have left an itinerary. If no one is home when I am leaving, I will text my wife and tell her I am going and that the info is in the kitchen.
- When I start the hike I will text my wife to let her know that I am heading out on the trail and how long I think it will take me to complete the hike. If I think that I am going to be later than I originally thought, I send her a text letting her know that.
- As soon as I have completed my hike, I usually give my wife a quick call just to let her know I am done.
I used to think that leaving all of this information was overkill. After fracturing my ankle last month, I am now more committed than ever to making sure that I let someone know when I am going to be out hiking.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Make sure you have more than enough water for your hike. Stay hydrated!!!!!