Prepare for a Hiking Hunting or Camping Trip to Ensure You make It back Alive

Prepare for Hiking and Hunting Trip

January 2015:

Another hiker lost and then found dead by rescue personnel, this time in Mexico. An American on a yoga retreat is found dead after four days. Apparently, the hiker fell into a ravine and died instantly according to reports.

The man’s wife stated that he was an experienced hiker. He left on his hike with only water, trail mix, a phone and a knife. He was dressed in only a tee shirt and shorts. The wife stated her husband had texted her on the same day he left, suggesting he was lost (Associated Press, 2015).

A tragic end and no one will ever know if anything could have been done to prevent this tragedy. This event illustrates however, that even experienced hikers and outdoor enthusiast make deadly mistakes.   

Preparing For an Outdoor Adventure

Realize you can get lost and prepare accordingly. While not specifically stated in any reports, you can assume that the hiker expected to be back the same day he left on the hike. He obviously was not prepared for an overnight stay.

Of course, from this point, it is all speculation, but once he realized he was lost he may have tried to hurry, pick up the pace, if you will, and this may have caused him to make mistakes and not pay as close of attention to his surroundings, because he apparently fell into a crevice while walking. If he had been prepared to get lost, he may not have panicked, and may have sheltered in place. It is only speculation that he did panic.

If you are prepared then you have confidence and are less likely to panic and make mistakes that could cost you your life. Before leaving on any outdoor excursion make sure someone knows the general area where you will be hiking, camping or hunting, and that they know when to expect you back, so the authorities can be notified promptly if you do not show up. The hiker had a cell phone and obviously was able to communicate with his wife. There is some confusion as to how he got lost.

Most cell phones today can be tracked, and many have GPS systems installed that can give the user and rescue personnel the longitude and latitude and even elevation in some cases.

Some features may require an app. If you do have a smart phone look into apps that can help you navigate your way back if you do become lost or stranded and the apps can also be used to relay information to rescue personnel or to family members to help locate you.

Proper clothing is essential. Mountainous areas experience weather variations and some can be drastic. You may be comfortable in a tee shirt and shorts as you start your climb but higher elevations may be much cooler and you have to be prepared for this.

You prepare for the terrain in which you are operating This means climbing ropes may be needed in certain areas as well as warm clothing for at night even though the daytime temperatures are hot. Look into what natural resources are available such as fresh water before you start out. You would need shelter for overnight stays, so it must be in your pack, or you must have a high level of confidence you can find/use natural shelter or build a shelter from materials found in the environment. You would need tools to build a shelter so make sure you have what is needed in your pack if you are not carrying shelter materials.

Water is an essential that you cannot do without, and while food is not an immediate concern, it is needed to maintain high energy levels and to provide a psychological boost. The means to make a fire is critical regardless of the weather. Carry signaling materials such as brightly colored cloth/clothing or colored garbage bags, whistles and mirrors.

If you know someone back home is aware of your plans, knows the general area you will be in, and knows when to expect you back then you can be assured that if you do become lost or stranded someone will come searching. This means you will not panic and can settle down and shelter in place and wait for rescue. Wandering lost makes it more difficult for rescue personnel and rushing around in a panic may mean you do walk off a cliff, or tumble into a ravine.

Preparedness is essential regardless of how long you expect to be gone.  How many more stories do you have to read before you realize that a causal day hike can turn into a nightmare, and can lead to your death if you are not prepared?

Mimica, B. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Northern-Va-Yoga-Teacher-Hari-Simran-Missing-in-Mexico-287306811.html

Press, A. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/01/02/missing-american-hiker-found-dead-in-mexican-mountains/