“We don’t stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking.”
“A ship is safe in harbor. but that’s not what ships are built for.”
-John A. Shedd
I was on Facebook the other day and I was reading a post by a gentleman by the name of Rob Davidson who came up with an interesting form to leave for folks when you go hiking. Not only did I take a great deal of it to make my own form, but I also added a section on the back where I list each of the medications that I am taking and any allergies that I may have.
Now, believe me, it’s not that I didn’t take my safety and the safety of others seriously prior to last summers mishap, but I’ve taken it a step further. The form, which is two-sided provides your family and potential rescuers with all of the information that they will need to assist in finding you if something goes wrong on a hike.
The best thing about this form is that it is quick and easy to fill out and just as easy for anyone who picks it up to understand. As Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts ma’am.” Only the most critical and pertinent information should be provided to your family and the authorities. As far as I am concerned, the less useless information folks have to sift through the better. That makes sense, yes?
So at the top of the form, we have my name and then the date that the hike is happening. Obviously, if you are going for multiple days, you would include them all.
Next is a pretty critical section. “If you don’t hear from me by:” says it all. This gives the reader a time and date to expect you back or hear from you. Please note the caveat below because we all have had times where you could just be running late and not in any kind of trouble.
Equally as important is your itinerary. Where are you hiking? Will you be on multiple trails? Do you plan on spending some time on a particular viewpoint? Where will your car be parked? These are all questions that you should consider when completing this section of the form.
Next, I have included a section where you can tell the reader whether you are hiking solo or with others. Did you just get separated from a group? Did you fall ill or injure yourself and others have gone to get help? If I was hiking with another person, I would also include at least one additional phone number so if my phone has no service, it may still be possible to contact that other person.
The last three sections are easy ones. All you have to do is describe what you are wearing, provide a description of your car with the license, plate number, cell phone and lastly, what medications you are taking.
When I was a younger man I would have scoffed at the idea that I needed to fill something like this out just to go on a day hike or an overnight backpacking trip.
But when you are hit directly in the face with a serious dose of reality, it tends to change your mind. I would suggest that hikers of all ages at least take a look at the form and then decide, “Is it worth the five minutes out this form to let my family and loved ones know where I am?”
If not, I would suggest asking Aron Ralston the very same question.
Obviously, the boxes below would be larger for the areas of trip information, hiking solo or with others and medications.
Hike Plan For Michael Doyle
|If you do not hear from me by:
If you do not hear from me by the time above, I may be in trouble, running late or may have no service on my cell. Please check for voicemail messages or texts that may give you more information.
Am I hiking SOLO or with OTHERS?
What am I wearing?
Medications Currently Taking:
If you have any questions or comments please let me know!!!!