MAPS: No matter how short or how easy the hike is, don’t go anywhere without some type of map. If you get injured, and you raise help on your cell, the first question asked is, “Where exactly are you?” To say you’re in Wompatuck Park makes things difficult and adds to rescue time. Carry a map.
WHISTLE: The lowly referee whistle enables you to give the universal signal for distress—three sharp blasts.
FIRST AID KIT: Get a first aid kit for you and for providing help to others. I once met a hiker who had a nasty cut on his back; he’d fallen on the broken branch of a blow-down and gotten stabbed. He had no bandages or ointments with him, and I was able to help him.
EXTRA WATER: I always carry an additional small bottle inside my pack. You never want to run out, and water can also be used to clean a wound.
RAIN JACKET WITH HOOD: Some type of rain gear is a must. A hooded rain jacket, sometimes called a shell, always comes with me, even on a short hike on a nice day. If there is one item I consider indispensable, it is this. Be prepared for foul weather.
We’ll return to the topic of hiking safely in later posts.
The picture by the lake was taken in the 100 mile wilderness in Maine—that last gasp before Mt. Katahdin. The other picture shows my family on the scenic summit of Mt. Liberty, a popular 4000 footer in New Hampshire.