Monday, August 10, 2009

Advice for Hikers

I'm a big fan of ultralight hiking. UH used to be kind of fringe, but apparently it is going more mainstream. I know this because now columnists for the NY Times are writing about it. Not just writing about it, but giving advice because they practice it themselves. Nicholas Kristof has a nice little editorial piece on how to get up and get out into the woods. He gives some good advice, but I would temper it some by simply adding one suggestion. If it's your first time, plan a short trip (perhaps 1 overnight) with a route that has options to bail out. You don't want to use the option, but just knowing you have planned it in gives you confidence.

My favorite piece of advice:

10. In grizzly or polar bear territory, carry bear spray (which is a bit like mace). Frankly, the spray is unlikely to stop a 1,000-pound bear hurtling toward you, so experienced hikers respond to a menacing bear by using the spray in one of two ways. The first option is to spray yourself in the face, so you no longer care what the bear does to you. The second option is to spray your best friend beside you, and then run.
New application of an old joke.

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