August 15, 2008

Why I Don't Hike

THE BOSTON GLOBE has published an important article for any hikers considering a leisurely jaunt in the White Mountains National Forest (or anywhere else, for that matter). Its title? "A Beautiful Place to Die." If you're an amateur hiker, read it, please.

The situations described in the article are a major reason I Do Not Hike. My idea of outdoor recreation is going for a nice walk after dinner. However, for reasons that escape me, many people voluntarily venture out into the Godforsaken wilderness, which is far from the comforts of civilization and contains things like angry woodland creatures, miserable weather conditions and unforeseen dangers, like the bubonic plague. (There are a few cases reported each year in America, and most of the people that get it are hikers). Yet amazingly, a considerable subset of these outdoors enthusiasts go about their "leisure" underprepared or woefully unprepared for the dangers that face them.

Going unprepared -- or even underprepared -- when roughing it is a very bad idea. Trust me on this. You need to be prepared for bad weather. You need to let people know where you're going. You need to have proper equipment and clothing. You need to plan for the worst. This goes especially in New Hampshire, because we bill you if we have to rescue you because you weren't prepared.

So don't become a statistic. Be smart about hiking. Then again, you could just do what I do, which is look fondly at the hiking gear in the mall, and then go have dinner at your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 15, 2008 11:39 PM | TrackBack
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