Sports Law • Risk Management

Hiking Safety Reminder: Be Prepared to Stay Overnight

I read with interest about a 64-year old North Carolina man, who crawled across the Utah desert for 4 days with a broken leg. He had been camping in the Canyonlands National Park and had been hiking in the Maze district when he fell about ten feet, breaking his leg. Because he had intended to take only a day hike, he was not prepared to stay overnight and did not have warm clothing, a map or any overnight gear. He only had 5 liters of water and 2 Power Bars.

It should be noted that the Maze is “the least accessible district of the Canyonlands. Due to the districts remoteness and difficulty of roads and trails, travel to the Maze rquires more time, as well as a greater degree of self-sufficiency. Rarely do visitors spend less than three days in the Maze, and the area can easily absorb a wekk-long trip, according to the park’s website. http://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/maze.htm

This should serve as a reminder that when you hike, make sure that you bring proper gear that will sustain you for several nights and days. There is no reason that you cannot fill your backpack with the following items, just in case: nylon cord, compass, map of the area, rain gear, extra warm socks, a towel, sharp knife, multi-purpose tool, first aid kit, necessary medications, space blanket, food, water, water filter, water-purification tablets, waterproof matches, back up fire starter, headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries, sunscreen, whistle, insect repellant, glow sticks, warm clothing, cell phone and other equipment.

Just because you think you are only going to be gone a few hours doesn’t mean that something will not happen that could extend your stay to overnight or several days. A weather emergency could cause you to be trapped. You could injure yourself, or you could become lost. It is likely that you will not need the equipment that you bring, but you will be happy that you have it should an emergency happen. It could save your life.