Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about safety on the trails and being prepared for the unexpected.
You know, everything from a flat tire on the way to the trailhead, to a twisted ankle or a diaper blow-out. When we leave Laramie and head to the mountains anything can happen.
We’ve written a lot about planning hikes and packing for hiking trips but with our frequent hikes this summer the whole planning & packing process has become somewhat automatic. There’s danger there. The danger is complacency.
To prevent that I’ve made a checklist with 6 things I ask myself before every hike. Here’s my list:
1. Where are we going? Do we know how to get there? What’s our route when we get there? Do we have our Trail Deck (yep, we use our own product around here).
2. When are we leaving, when do we plan to return and who knows our plan?
3. What’s the weather in town? What will the weather be at the trailhead? What will the temperature difference be between the trailhead and the summit?
4. Do we need to throw any items into our car or packs that aren’t part of our regular packing list (ie snowshoes, trekking poles, extra gear or equipment for friends who might be hiking with us)?
5. Do we have a full tank of gas?
6. Is my cell phone fully charged? Do I have my charger in the car?
Asking a few simple questions before leaving the house helps keep me from forgetting to do anything essential. It also puts my head into “hiking mode” and often triggers a reminder like….oh, my 3 year old needed 10 bandaids for a tiny scratch yesterday. I should put some more in my first aid kit.
What is your mental checklist before you hike? What questions do you ask yourself before a day in the mountains? Do you agree or disagree with anything I ask myself? What would you add?