Being a 911 dispatcher gives a raw view on life, as we are presented with every kind of unexpected and terrifying situation a person can find themselves in. One of the more common calls we get, especially in the Pacific Northwest which is abundant in extraordinary mountainous terrain, is for Search and Rescue. Sometimes its young hikers who are lacking in experience. Sometimes it’s out of state hikers that, although experts in their home region, aren’t prepared for what the Northwest delivers. And sometimes, its experienced, local hikers on a simple 4 mile loop they’ve hiked many times before. But, almost all rescued hikers have 2 key things in common.
- None of them expected to be out overnight and in need of SAR
- None of them packed adequate emergency provisions in case they were
It continues to surprise me that people do not pack survival essentials with them at all times. And I literally mean ALL times. No one ever expects an emergency. But we can do our best to be prepared in the event that one befalls us. Most SAR callouts can be avoided if hikers follow some simple but vital safety guidelines. You must always be ready for the weather and your circumstances to turn abruptly ominous at any moment on every hike.
The Parks Apparel company was kind enough to take a chance on me a few months ago, and posted an article on their blog that I wrote called The Ultimate Hiking Survival Guide. With their assistance, and a little help from some great resources, I think it’s a pretty spot on read that every hiker should take to heart. Please give it a few minutes of your time, and pass it along/share it, if you will. I would love to see the amount of SAR calls coming into 911 drastically reduced by all hikers adequately preparing for the unexpected. Be safe and smart on the trails, friends.
Read the book, plant the flowers, take the trip, and always have the courage to be kind.