Trail blazing in the back country can be one of the most exhilarating experiences of a lifetime. Breaking away from day to day life and exploring new territories untouched by man can be both fun and a little scary. There is much preparation to be done before setting out into the wilderness such as obtaining maps, and the proper gear for your hike or stay.
One of the first things to check off the preparation list is a wilderness survival course. While it is not mandatory (there are no rules to this game), knowing how to survive in the wilderness is essential. Learning how to remain calm during an emergency, how to make a help signal, how to find or create a shelter if necessary and learning how to navigate with a compass are all things an individual should know before setting out on a trip through the wilderness.
The gear you bring with you is also essential to your trip. A backpack that is able to hold everything you need and is comfortable to hike with is a must have item. A first aid kit with items for bites, burns, headaches and even items to help with more serious problems such as a sprain or break is another item you shouldn’t leave home without.
When you are out there in the great outdoors being aware of your surroundings is important. Danger comes in the form of animal attacks, snake or spider bites, or running into a bee or hornets’ nest. Spiders are the most common and hidden danger, as they tend to like dark spaces to hide which can include shoes and sleeping bags. There is one spider in South America that reaches up to a foot long when full grown! While big spiders, like tarantulas are scary the small spiders can hide easier and can be venomous. Before sticking your hands or feet into anything dark, shake out your shoes or sleeping bag to ensure there are no biting visitors in there.
Snakes are another common issue while hiking or backpacking during the spring and summer months. Most snakes won’t attach unless provoked or stepped on, but it’s best to bring along some snake bite antivenom just in case. Pay close attention to the ground being walked on, avoid tall grass areas if possible, and wear long pants and sturdy hiking boots.
Being prepared and aware of your surroundings will make your backcountry exploration an enjoyable and safe experience.