The Importance of Being Prepared for Outdoor Outings

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On Friday morning a father and son from Centerville were reported missing in a remote area of Emery County. They were dropped off on Thursday morning and were scheduled to return that evening. Their plans were to hike and raft a stretch of Muddy Creek, but they underestimated the distance of their route and the time needed to return to their scheduled pickup location.

When they did not arrive at the determined pickup location, the Emery County Sheriff’s Office, state parks and Eagle Air Med helicopter were dispatched to search the area. Eagle Air Med located the men and notified rescuers on the ground of their location. The sheriff’s office and state parks transported the men to their waiting family members. They were in good condition despite spending an unplanned night in the wilderness.

When preparing for a hike or outing, it is always important to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances, inclement weather conditions or injuries. Consider the age of the hikers in the group and plan according to the pace of the slowest hiker.

Always alert someone of where you are going, the trails you will be hiking, when you plan to return and your emergency plans. It is important to research the route and discuss the plan with someone reliable and responsible. Inform them of how many people are in the hiking party along with their names, ages and any unique factors. Leave a description of clothing, the hike start time and return time, trailhead names and connectors and GPS coordinates.

Hiking gear should include a cell phone, GPS, map, compass, warm clothing, plenty of food and water, flashlight, first aid kit, pocket knife, rain gear and matches or fire starter. Also wear sturdy footwear, extra socks and take along any medications that may be needed.

When hiking, do not solely depend on electronic devices such as cell phones and GPS units. Always include a map and compass with equipment.

In thousands of parks and wilderness areas across the nation, inexperienced and unprepared hikers get lost each year, so lost that they have to be rescued. It is important to know limitations and be prepared to help prevent someone from becoming lost in the wilderness.

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