A mountain backpack trip is an incredible opportunity to be one with nature and enjoy the challenges of conquering some impressive climbs. The hiking trip that goes smoothly is everyone’s goal, but along the way, Mother Nature or Murphy’s law can have you dealing with some hairy experiences. Here are four defining situations that could make you wonder if backpack hiking is worth it all. Learning from these moments will turn fear into positive experiences, making you realize hiking is worth a few hassles along the way.
Scary Hiking Trail Situations Will Test You
Hikers are in awe of being in the wild when it includes encounters with playful rabbits, graceful deer or innocent squirrels. But if you are staring down the nostrils of a grizzly bear or come upon a pack of wolves, your blood pressure instantly spikes. Do you believe knowledge is power? That being said, if you know what to do if you stumbled across a wild animal, don’t you agree you’d be less frightened? Contrary to popular belief, wild animals do not seek out humans or wait to pounce on them for their next meal. The best rule of hiking is to know before you go.
Backpack Hikers Could Run Into Bad Weather
Mountain backpack hikers could start out on a beautiful sunny day with barely a breeze. Weather conditions, especially in the mountains can turn bad quickly. The smart hiker will check weather reports ahead of time, because we all know Mother Nature can be fickle and new conditions could prevail with very little notice. It’s wise to use the Boy Scout motto and be prepared for anything by bringing extra clothes, warmer jackets and hats and gloves, even when you least expect to need them. A waterproof backpack cover, tent or tarp for getting out of the elements and water resistant outerwear is advised to carry in your hiking pack all of the time. There are great phone apps that will give you live weather updates at a moment’s notice. Check them out here: https://www.tomsguide.com/us/pictures-story/430-best-weather-apps.html
Unexpected Terrain Conditions Could Present Backpacking Problems
Most times, if you hike trails you’ve been to before, you will be familiar with the conditions of that location. Even if that is the case, you could find yourself in water you didn’t expect, rocks you didn’t plan on scrambling or turns in the trail that you didn’t see on your map that will confuse you.
Situations like flooding from rain or Spring thawing could become a scary issue. You may need to cross an area that had so much recent rain it was no longer a tiny creek. If you have trekking poles attached to your hiking backpack, you can check the water depth before you begin crossing and especially in the middle. Walking sticks or trek poles are very handy and will help you balance uneven terrain when you clearly thought you’d only be hiking over level ground and things changed.
Weather over time can create topographical changes, so it’s always good to make sure your maps are up-to-date and the trail conditions where you will be hiking are current.
Backpackers; Be Equipped To Know Your Hike Location
A mountain backpack trek could have twists and turns that you weren’t aware of. For example, if you go off trail to pee, when you turn around, everything could look different than you remembered, even moments later. There is no worse feeling than of potentially being lost. If you only rely on your cell phone for GPS, you could end up in an area with no cell service. Your battery could die or your phone could be dropped, rendering it unusable.
But, if you also carry a terrain map of your hiking area and a compass, you should have all bases covered. You’ll then be able to rectify any mis-turns or unfamiliarity of the terrain you’re in. If you know how to read the map and compass before hitting the trail, that’s advisable. Once you’re hiking, in this regard, it shouldn’t be a learn-as-you-go situation.
For great information on learning topographic maps and compasses, go HERE.
Backpack Hiking Could Prove Creepy At Times
Mountain backpack excursions are great for exploration and discovery. Ask yourself, are you a person who freaks out easily? A hiker should always be on guard for odd people and strange things that make them a bit uneasy during a hiking trip. You may not be prepared to stumble upon a dead animal or even a human carcass. Certain people within a wilderness situation may put off a vibe of creepiness that sends up a red flag. You should always have radar about strangers you meet on the trail and re-direct your hike or remove yourself from that person’s path if your gut tells you something is not right.
What if you stumble upon someone who is in desperate need of medical attention? Will you be too anxious and scared to know what to do first? Here’s a little help in that area to guide you from a panic state to a helpful hiker and assist the person who needs it. How to help an injured hiker is great info. https://www.backpacker.com/trips/how-to-rescue-an-injured-hiker
Hike Happily With Confidence Instead Of Fear
No one can be prepared for every situation all of the time. Part of the allure of hiking is heading out to the unknown and enjoying the discovery of it all. You can enjoy your outdoor adventure much more if you have confidence, which only comes from learning and doing. Whatever evolves during your hiking expedition, if your take-away is considered a training experience, the next time you come across something unexpected on the trail, it won’t seem nearly as upsetting.
Naturetrailbackpacks encourages hikers to help others by commenting below regarding the creepy or scary things you’ve encountered on a hike and how you handled them. Be safe out there and happy hiking!