Danger Hiking for the Adventurous

Is Danger your middle name? This article is about some of the dangers that can be found while hiking on trails, streams, mountains, and ridgelines with an idea to get around the situation (this should make your significant other happy) and still enjoy the hike.  Especially if you are the curious type and always feel the need to “take a peek”.

In the past, you had to personally deal with the danger at the point it occurred.  This can, in some cases, lead to a significant event happening in your life that, if you survive, will leave you with a story for your grandkids.  With today’s technology and equipment, this element can be eliminated or significantly diminished.  Photography, drones, and engineering have come to our rescue.

Hiking James River VA

Hiking James River by Jo Kirby

Trails – These can be tricky.  Especially if they are uneven or hard to see or follow (daytime or nighttime makes a difference).  Are you on foot or are you on a trail bike?  The speed at which we travel down a trail can have a significant impact (nice word – impact) on any event that may occur.  Check it out ahead of time with your drone.  When walking or riding along a trail through the woods, have you ever looked up and noticed the foliage is non-existent or thinning higher up?  This is your opening to check out the trail ahead of you with your personal drone.  Drones come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and power levels (lift capability).  The required lift of a drone is dependant on the weight of the camera you are using to photograph the trail or provide a live video recon feed.  If you are going on the trail at night, map it out during the day so you know where all of the twists and turns are – now try walking or riding the trail at night without the use of a light.  If you are wild enough to be riding at night, remember your helmet!  Exciting!

Panther Falls VA

Panther Falls by Jo Kirby

Streams – Did you bring dry socks?  Now that you are using a stream as an easier path, where the heck can you get back out?  There is nothing worse than getting into a stream because the brush is too dense to get through on both sides and then Oops! you step into a hole you didn’t see and now you are soaked. Time Magazine has explained that drones can be used for a variety of things, to include keeping us safe.  For the creative garage inventor, you can always build your own drone.  If you have the nack and the interest in mechanical things, there are always educational opportunities to further your engineering knowhow and in turn help mankind as well.

12,400 ft

Mountains – Having climbed a mountain or two (small ones), it has not always been easy to see around the next big outcropping or where the next handhold or foot placement is. Using a drone to find the best path ahead of time can be very useful.  Especially if you are at a new site you have not been to before.  The camera on the drone can provide the visual images of what lays ahead.  Preparation is key to safety (remember this, all you daredevils out there – this piece of advice is coming from a former Paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division before it went Airmobile).

Mountain Ridgelines

Phtographer – Dwight Tracy

Ridgelines – We are again back to the tricky and potentially dangerous.  Loose rocks, mossy ground, jagged rocks, and miscellaneous debris can all cause problems.  My idea of a good day does not include going over the edge to see if I can still bounce.  Remember the bear method of going down a hill – Curl up into a ball and roll until you hit something big enough to stop you.  This, however, is not a technique I would advise using.  Be smart and check your trail first.

Having spent some time in the military, peeking around corners or blindly going forward was not always the best idea.  To prove the point – I was leading the Booby Trap Patrol one day and had the great fortune to leaned up against one.  Fortunately for me, it did not go off.  If we would have had these types of tools available to us at the time, this might not have happened.  Use the tools available and have a safe, great time in the great outdoors.  Prepare and be safe!

About James Kirby

Our group has been hiking, backpacking and camping in various parts of the world for over 50 years. We have been from Alaska to Texas and from Virginia to California. There have been extensive extreme levels overseas both in Europe and the Pacific while some of us were in the military. We have experienced the good times and survived the bad times. You will be amazed at how creative you can be when you forget something that you need! Through it all we have never lost our sense of adventure and are still looking to see what is over the next ridge line.
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