Hiking is a relatively safe outdoor adventure. People get hurt when they do not prepare for bad weather or push their bodies harder than they should. The other most common problem when hiking is getting lost, so it is important to know how NOT to get lost and what to do if it does happen.
Some experienced people like the solitude and extra challenge of hiking alone. There is security in numbers, but solo hiking with skill, preparation, and communication can be safe.
Most hiking is done on well-traveled trails that are fairly smooth and packed. There are thousands of miles of such trails with great scenery and solitude. But, as you explore and push your limits, you may begin to hike cross-country, on small game trails, across rocks, and on other treacherous, unstable ground.
A personal first aid kit is a big step toward safe hikes.
A map and compass are only useful tools for those that can use them.
A wrong turn, unfamiliar terrain, bad weather, and then suddenly you realize you don't know where you are. Now what?
Whether lost or not, if you need help, you need to know how to ask. If you give the wrong signals, people may think you are just fine and need no assistance so make sure you know the correct way to ask.
Jun 12, 2014 - Robin Pesencie
I need some advise. A group of us were day hiking a side trail to the PCT in northern California. It had snowed 6+ inches on the crest the night before. We did not have a good map. We made a few wrong turns. Once we got to the top and thought we were on the PCT, we could not see the trail due to the new snow. One of the wrong turns made us 6-7 miles from our lodge instead of 2 mi. Now it's 2pm and storm clouds have moved in and it starts to snow. What would your advise be to the group?
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