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Be Adventurous, Be Safe

Its no secret I love to be in the great outdoors. My soul craves the wide open spaces and the wild air. I’m still sleeping with the window cracked not solely because I’m often 200 degrees at night, but I can also smell the fresh woods and wood-smoke, and hear the coyotes howling. My dream house is a cabin in the woods and my own acres to roam and grow food. I’d be living that Yellowstone life if money were no object.

There’s so much to love about being outdoors. So many benefits to your health; physically, mentally and spiritually. One of my favourite things when I’m wandering this beautiful earth?


BEING SAFE.



If am walking through our local grove of old growth trees, I usually only care a few basics such as a mini first aid kit, a flashlight, a book of matches, my water bottle, and my phone. This forest is located on the waters edge of our town and is not a huge property. There are always people walking dogs or feeding the birds so it is unlikely that I'd ever have to spend hours, or a night alone. It is bordered by homes on the other three sides so it's highly likely someone would hear a call for help. The hospital is also located across the open field; I could literally drag myself there if required.


Rarely have any wild animals been spotted here either, aside from a skunk, porcupine, or beaver at the small inland pond. The odd deer, or even stray coyote may wander through, but it's simply too close to our downtown area to be a good permanent home for any larger animal. However, on all other occasions I always have my larger backpack that includes a collection of emergency and first aid items. These items can help in the event of minor injuries, sudden weather changes, or unexpected delays.


I have made a handy infographic of the 10 Essential Hiking Items for your convenience.


This widely respected safety and packing system was formalized in the third edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, released in 1974.
10 Hiking Essentials

This widely respected safety and packing system was formalized in the third edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, released in 1974.


It may seem like a lot to carry each time you go adventuring, but I cannot tell you how often I have tripped over an exposed tree root, or stumbled over uneven ground, or even suddenly found myself on terrain that is too steep to go up, or down. A bad sprain, or even a broken limb can make it impossible for you to walk back to your car. Some items may be combined into one larger item, such as my own floating container with an attached rope and carabiner, that has a mini light, a compass, a thermometer, whistle, and a flint. Inside I can put some band-aids, a few Tylenol, and waterproof matches and it easily attaches to the outside of my pack. Better safe than sorry is definitely a motto to live by if you plan on being in the great outdoors. Especially if like myself, you are often alone on the trail. It's also embarrassing how many bandaids I have used on some outings despite my hiking boots being fairly well worn. (And I do recommend the proper footwear for whatever terrain you are on.)


Carrying these emergency items may not only be useful to yourself, but you may encounter another individual who has sustained an injury, or is lost. They might not just save your lift but someone else. Not only is it very easy to get injured, but of most people I encounter on the trails the single most often heard statement: I didn't expect to be out here this long. It is very easy for even experienced hikers to underestimate how long it may take to walk a trail, and for inexperienced ones to misunderstand that the posted 17km route means ONE WAY!


There is also a handy limerick to help you remember these essentials:


The Mountaineers Ten Essentials Limerick By Steve McClure

To navigate, head for the sun With first aid and knife on the run Bring fire and shelter Extra food is a helper But water and clothes weigh a ton


Having a proper backpack that can hold all the essentials and be comfortable is very important. There are ones made specifically for women. As I mentioned, I keep two backpacks stocked; one for short, local trips, and a larger one for when I will be out longer. I even have a waterproof kit for my kayak, in addition to the safety bucket we are required by law to have with all watercraft in Ontario. I always travel with some non perishable food items and at least a change of socks and tshirt. A water camelback is a good investment and there are some integrated with the packback, or that can be worn inside the back. IN ADDITION to your normal water bottle. Just remember to change the water often and clean the apparatus!


The other essential thing to remember when you are out enjoying Nature is to show her Respect! There's a common saying, "leave only footprints, take only memories." Remember to take out whatever you bring in and especially clean up after your dog. There's nothing worse than tripping over tossed soda cans, water bottles, and what I find more often now: discarded masks. Eeewww. Just please don't. Keep our land beautiful.


Now that you are outfitted with your proper footwear, comfortable pack, and essential items, it's time to get out and explore. It doesn't have to be a journey that would be challenging for the best Bear Grylls followers; just get out and enjoy this beautiful world of ours.


"is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit."
~Edward Abbey





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Susi Kleiman
Susi Kleiman
Nov 14, 2021

Going to keep this handy for our hiking trips in the summer. ❤️

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Rorybore
Rorybore
Nov 16, 2021
Replying to

I've only hiked far and long enough once that I've actually needed some of the items, but better safe than sorry. After that 6 hour hike in the summer, I would happily have gone to sleep in the woods and swear I could not take another step.

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