As a burgeoning outdoor enthusiast, you should learn to be prepared for anything and everything. There are some rare but dangerous situations you could find yourself in a while out on a hike, and if you’re smart, you’ll be aware of these and know what to do if they happen to you. Here are some worst-case scenarios every first-time hiker should know about, courtesy of Social Gadget News.
You Run Into A Bear
Let’s kick it off with the nightmare scenario: you’re strolling through the woods, and you happen upon a bear. What do you do? First off, don’t run. Bears are likely to chase a running target, as they may think you to be prey. You’re not going to outrun a bear, so this option is a definite no-no if the bear doesn’t appear to have spotted you. Simply back away slowly and calmly and head in the opposite direction.
If the bear sees you and is clearly interested in your presence, you must now identify if it is acting in a defensive manner (protecting a kill or its cubs) or in a predatory manner. For
defensive bears, talk to the bear in a non-threatening manner, move your arms up and down, and slowly back away. For predatory bears, try to back up, but if the bear is still pursuing you, then it’s time to stand tall, raise your arms, and be loud. This may help to scare the bear off.
Worst-case scenario – a bear attacks. If this happens, your best bet is to play dead. Fighting is futile unless it’s a black bear, and you know it’s predatory. If this is the case, fight like hell. Check out this list of bear myths to help you better understand these fascinating creatures.
You get lost or injured and are unable to make it out before nightfall
It’s easier than you think to get turned around while hiking – even on “easy” trails. It’s also easy to severely sprain your ankle, twist your knee, or, worst-case scenario – break something. If any of this happens to you and you cannot make it out of the woods, you should know your priorities: shelter and fire.
Nights can get cold in the wilderness – even in summer. Building a fire is your first task as it provides light, warmth and a deterrent for wild animals. Your pack bag should always include some firestarter. Know how to build a quick shelter out of sticks, branches, and leaves. Check here for tips on that.
If you’re hiking in a well-trafficked area, chances are someone will stumble across your path. If not, you may need to build a signal fire. You can avoid most of this stress by carrying a GPS device preprogrammed with useful coordinates, like the trailhead entrance or your campsite location.
You Start To Overheat
Hiking is strenuous work, and if you’re doing it in hot weather, then your chance of overheating and possibly succumbing to heatstroke is greatly increased. If you think you may be close to heatstroke (temperature approaching 104F, rapid breathing and heart rate, clammy skin, nausea, headache), the first thing you should do is stop exerting yourself. Find some shade. Slowly sip water. Wet something and place it on your head and neck (your shirt or a bandana). Don’t mess around with heatstroke – it can lead to severe long-term health issues.
You Find Yourself Broke
Not all threats come from nature. Especially when traveling abroad, there’s the additional danger of losing your wallet and suddenly finding yourself penniless. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up an account with transfer service, just in case. Remitly is a great option. For instance, if you’re in the Dominican Republic or Cabo Verde, your first transfer is free.
Though these worst-case scenarios are rare, they aren’t as rare as you think. Novice hikers are
much more likely to encounter a dangerous situation if for no other reason than they aren’t experienced. Take as many precautions as you can before heading out. When you’re out in the woods, and something goes wrong, you’ll understand the true meaning of better safe than sorry.
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