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Hiking Solo? Leave an Itinerary!

“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?

  1. 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!!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!!!!!

Happy Hiking!!!