Overall, hiking is a relatively safe recreational activity – but when it goes wrong, the consequences can be severe.
Hiking is one of the greatest pastimes of the Great Outdoors and with so many magnificent views to be seen, there’s no question why. Some trails are far more difficult than others, while some offer maximum payoff with very little effort. Elevation, distance, and endurance all are factors that play into a hike but, surprisingly, none of these are what can make hiking trails so dangerous.
It’s not wildlife, either – although that is something to be aware of before hitting the trail. Rather, it’s common human error that can take a trip from a sunshine-filled day to one with devastating consequences.
Reading reviews about a trail is one thing, but setting out on one without having the slightest clue of what it entails is another entirely. With all the apps out nowadays, in addition to park guides and websites like Meanderthals available at a hiker’s disposal, there’s no reason this should even be a mistake. After all, Plan Ahead and Prepare is the first Leave No Trace principle for good reason.
Hiking solo, but without a locator device or leaving word with someone is simply dumb. The problem lies in not alerting people as to your whereabouts. The most common mistake is when experienced hikers head out, run into unexpected conditions, and have no way of rescue since they didn’t tell anyone beforehand. Think Aron Ralston and 127 Hours.
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