Why You Need to Prepare for Your Hike
I have been learning how to hike for a few years now. I know it may sound silly to learn how to hike, but there is so much more to hiking than throwing on a pack with some granola bars and water in it and setting off to find the best views the mountains have to offer. There is a lot of preparation and research that has to be done in order to assure you did everything possible to be prepared and return safely.
Like most New Hampshire natives, I learned to hike small hikes first. Just to get a taste of what it’s all about. I was never brave enough to set sail on one of the 4000 footers until I began hiking with my boyfriend, who has had way more experience on the trails. I remember when he asked me if I would be interested in hiking the NH 48. First off, I didn’t know what that even meant. I knew I wanted to accept the challenge because it was new and exciting and was something that he and I could do together. So for Christmas he made sure I had all the essentials to start my list. I got a new jacket, winter hiking boots, pants, gaiters and base layers. I used a set of micro spikes that he had and as for the pack, well…this is how Joel got his nickname “Sherpa Joel”. Once I had the essentials, we set off for out for Mount Moosilauke. I’ll admit I was a bit intimidated by this mountain, especially in the winter time. But I was determined.
Fast forward a few years and I am about to set off on one of the most difficult day hikes in North America. I have done a few longer hikes before like the Presidential Traverse and the Bonds with Zealand, but this one will prove to be the most physically and mentally challenging for me. I don’t hike for the same reasons I used to anymore. I hike with an intention now. Each hike is a BIGGER challenge and BIGGER reward and because of this, the risks are much greater. Setting sail on a 32 mile hike is not an easy feat. It will hurt, it will make me question why the hell I attempted it in the first place and at some point I will probably lay down and think “is this how I am going to die?” If you have been on one of these hikes, you know you have had that moment before! Preparing for this hike, means I have to prepare for EVERY scenario. ANYTHING can happen on these trails, and believe me, I do not want to be the person on Chanel 9 news that everyone is calling an idiot because I went on a hike unprepared.
This year Joel and I actually decided to get out HIKE SAFE cards from New Hampshire Fish & Game. If you are a hiker, whether it be small hikes or larger ones, I cannot stress how important it is to get one of these. So many times Fish & Game and other search and rescue clubs get called out for injured or lost hikers. If Fish & Game determines that negligence is what required a search and rescue, than the hiker will be liable for any expenses the department accrued during the response. If you possess a Hike Safe card, you are exempt from being liable for expenses*. Now I’m not saying that this card allows you to go out and be reckless on the trails, but in the event that something happens that you can never plan for (like a fall, illness, etc.) then it is nice to know that you will not go in debt over it! I have added a link to NH Fish & Game’s website where you can purchase a card for yourself, or your family.
You can purchase a hikeSafe card here: https://www.nhfishandgame.com/HikeSafe.aspx
*A law passed in 2014 authorizes the NH Fish and Game Department to sell a voluntary hike safe card for $25 per person and $35 per family. People who obtain the cards will not be liable to repay rescue costs if they need to be rescued due to negligence on their part, regardless of whether they are hiking, boating, cross country skiing, hunting, or engaging in any other outdoor activity. An individual may still be liable for response expenses, however, if such person is deemed to have recklessly or to have intentionally created a situation requiring an emergency response.
hikeSafe: It’s your responsibility.
THE HIKER RESPONSIBILITY CODE WAS DEVELOPED AND IS ENDORSED BY
THE WHITE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL FOREST AND NEW HAMPSHIRE FISH AND GAME.
Visit hikesafe.com for more information.
#hikeSafe #ShareTheCode #ThereAndBack