Backwoods Safety Tips
The difference between survival and adventure may well be preparation.
On one of my first hiking trips in the Colorado Rockies, I was above 11,000 feet on a May morning. Temperatures were quickly rising into the seventies so I was hiking in shorts and a T-shirt, while breaking in new boots. As I approached the ridgeline, I noticed a small cloud passing over the top. The small cloud was followed by a bigger one, it began to hail, and soon the temperature had dropped into the forties and the ground was covered with ice.Your kit needs to be light and simple or you won’t carry it
Though I wasn’t in danger, I could have been uncomfortable on the moderate hike back down the mountain. But I simply opened my daypack, donned a vest and poncho, and ate lunch.
Part of the attraction of the backcountry is its unpredictable nature. Being prepared for surprises includes both the right gear and the knowledge to use it.
“The point of outdoor skills,” says Glenn Wheeler, “is to make you more confident outdoors, not more afraid.” Glenn is a first responder who serves in three capacities: Emergency Medical Service, Search and Rescue, and Firefighter. His area is north Arkansas and the draw of tourists to the area makes it one of the top regions in the U.S. for search and rescue. “The most common reasons for rescue in our area are injuries from falls and getting lost. Sometimes people overestimate their abilities and can’t get back out,” says Glenn.
To avoid becoming a rescue victim, Glenn suggests researching the area you plan to visit, understand your abilities, and use common sense, especially around steep terrain.
As far as preparation, Glenn suggests you dress for the worst and carry standard first aid gear. Many survival kits are available and you may want to add specific items for the trip you have planned. Perhaps more important, suggests Glenn, is the first-aid knowledge to go with it.To avoid becoming a rescue victim, Glenn suggests researching the area you plan to visit, understand your abilities, and use common sense...