These pages represent our personal description from memory (and photos) of what we encountered on a hike. They are not advice, and they do not represent in any way an endorsement of any particular hike, nor of the conditions at the time; the decision to undertake any of the hikes we’ve been on is yours, and yours alone. Don’t take our word as evidence that a trail is safe to hike at the time you choose to hike it. You are entirely responsible for your own safety, and you must do your own research before hiking any of the trails described on this blog.
Venturing into the backcountry entails a significant element of risk, and can be dangerous, even deadly. With education and experience comes the knowledge and wisdom to understand the various risks associated with high mountain travel, and how to mitigate those risks. We believe that it is every hiker’s responsibility to educate themselves on how to be safe in the mountains. Education is an ongoing process – it never stops.
As we mentioned above, we were once inexperienced hikers. We started slow, picked easy trails, and worked our way up to tougher hikes. A lot of what we considered difficult in those early days is now pretty easy for us. We’re big fans of guide books – they may be unfashionable these days, but ignore them at your peril! Guide books also contain lots of good advice about hiking. We don’t hike anywhere new without consulting a guide book! We’re also huge fans of topo maps and took the time to learn all the things they tell you, and how to navigate using them. We learned about the Ten Essentials and other recommendations from search and rescue organizations.
But that wasn’t enough. We realized that a significant part of our safety in the mountains came down to our attitude. We settled on just trying to enjoy our trips, taking the time to absorb our surroundings. It meant letting the trip unfold as time, energy, and conditions allowed. We also found that our personal philosophy meshed well with the principles of Leave No Trace. Be humble, leave a place better than when you found it. Personally, we consider it an achievement if we leave behind no evidence that we ever visited a place.
We are not mountain guides; we’re not peak-baggers or mountaineers; we’re not racers in search of a personal best (time or distance); we’re not into death marches. We simply love being out in the backcountry. But our safety and well-being (and that of others with whom we’re hiking) is always top priority. Knowing when to turn back is a really important skill.
Education is paramount. It’s also addictive, so enjoy the process, and enjoy the backcountry!