Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Monday, October 3, 2011

Only Three Words That Can Get You In Trouble

The following post is from Peter Kummerfeldt.  Three words that can get a back country traveler in trouble quickly.

NEVER SAY "I AM JUST....................."

I spent this past weekend roaming around Rocky Mountain National Park photographing the glorious fall colors and the antics of the elk in the early stages of the rut.  I also spent time observing the thousands of people from all over the country there to participate in what has become an annual ritual.  With regard to the people I came home with two impressions. Firstly it amazed me how few people of those in the park over the weekend actually set foot on the ground and walked anywhere other than the few manicured walkways around two lakes.  The mentality seemed to be "If I can't drive there I ain't going there!" Secondly, of those that did get out of there car how few had given any thought to the possibility of how quickly the weather can change in the Rockies.  Other than those that were obviously headed out to climb the tall peaks the rest of the weekend warriors were under dressed, under equipped and under skilled to cope with a weather change - or any other emergency situation that might have occurred. Slip-on shoes, shorts and a tank tops were the name of the game.

I have long maintained that the most dangerous trip that you can go on is the spontaneous "Let's take the kids for a walk this afternoon" type of trip. Little thought goes into the possibility of something bad happening and even less goes into the preparations needed to cope with an accident or incident that place people in danger. They fall into the "I am just............." trap! We're just going to drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park this afternoon and walk the loop around Bear Lake. What could possible go wrong? The sun's out. We won't be very far from the car and if we get in trouble we'll just call the ranger for help! A lot can happen and sometimes people die before help can arrive! Never say "I am just" going to do anything! Again, you are setting a trap for yourself. Instead, in anticipation of a trip stop for a moment and consider all of the "what ifs." Think about the things that might go wrong and ask yourself if you're ready to cope with the consequences of a walk-in-the-park. And if not then don't put yourself or the lives of your family or friends at risk.

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