A Safety Lesson Learned on the Trail

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So, I had this crazy idea last Thursday morning.

After walk/jogging 2.5 miles on my treadmill that morning, I thought it was the perfect kind of morning to hit the trails.

I had not been out to my favorite hiking place since August and I was yearning for an adventure out in the fresh air. This trail is located in the middle of nowhere. It’s my favorite because of how quiet it is and how much wildlife is present.

Being a woman going out into the middle of nowhere alone, I needed to be prepared with protection.

So, I stuffed an old spray bottle of mace in my sports bra. I couldn’t find my whistle or pocket knife… so I opted to not worry too much about it. I packed up my hiking camelbak with water, a couple of apples, my wallet, keys, cellphone, ipod, and sunglasses. Even though this hike was only to be 7 ½ miles, I like to be prepared. Maybe even laughably over prepared.

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After I arrived at the trailhead, I sent my husband a text message to let him know what I was doing. If you’re running or hiking alone, someone needs to know where you’re at in case something bad happens. Seriously.

About 1 mile into the trail, I noticed some deer off to my right.

I got excited because they were so close and one of the deer seemed interested in me… so I took video of it and then I jogged off to try to warm up. I looked down at my heart rate monitor watch and noticed it was fading in and out. Like the battery was dying. I restarted it after messing around with it for a couple of minutes. It seemed to work find after that. But I thought it was really strange.

While I was walking, I decided I was still close enough to civilization that I could probably get a signal on my phone.

I wanted to post a picture to Instagram. That’s when my phone started messing up. Even though I left the house with full charge, my phone now gave me a message that claimed my phone needed to be connected to a power source.

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This frustrated the hell out of me.

I wanted to enjoy my hike, but now I was filled with fear. I thought about turning around and jogging back to my Jeep and going home defeated. But I rationalized that even as I got further into my hike, I would lose cellphone service anyways. So, I tried to make the best of it. I turned off my ipod and got really focused on my surroundings.

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I continued to hike as I enjoyed the sounds of the birds chirping and the other weird animal noises that happened in the trees around me. I continued to try to get my phone to work. And it did work off and on throughout the hike.

So, I snapped pictures.

When I arrived at the top of the trail, I found my favorite spot off of the trail to stop and take a short break and enjoy my snack. My phone was working great in this area.

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As I headed back down the trail, the phone stopped working again. So, I focused on jogging the rest of the way down. I made a lot of noise. The camelbak strapped to my bag sloshed water around and my feet hit the ground hard with each stride. I had not planned on running the trail, so I was wearing sprinting flats, not shoes made for high impact.

I likely scared all of the wildlife away around me.

I was nervous about my phone (because it’s never done this before) and my own safety. I tried really hard to not focus on danger and try to enjoy my adventure, but that was really difficult to do.

When I finally made it back to my vehicle, my phone battery really was drained down to zero. I don’t know why it happened. That was the first time it acted this way out there on that trail and anywhere else for that matter.

As a result,

I immediately purchased a universal extended battery charger on Amazon to carry with me from now on. Peace of mind by being prepared and taking safety precautions is a wonderful thing.

The lessons I learned:

  • Have a back-up phone charger.
  • Bring the whistle and pocket knife.
  • Don’t wear running flats to hike/jog trails in.
  • Maybe bring a friends next time.

 

What lessons have you learned while adventuring alone? Leave me a comment and let me know what you would have done!

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