Surviving the Wilds’ Fury

Accidents happen.  It is a fact of life, and a solid fact of outdoor adventure.  We felt compelled to write this blog post in response to the latest tragedy in our backyard, as a young women perished in the Grand Canyon after falling at Ooh-Ahh Point on the South Kaibab Trail.  Hiking with friends, she snapped a few photos, posted them to Instagram, then in a moment she was gone.  As gut-wrenching as this story is, it paints an all-too-real picture of the perils faced daily by adventurers not just in the Grand Canyon, but all over the southwest and around the world.  A moment’s carelessness or inattention can have serious and potentially fatal consequences, and it is important to remember that whether we like it or not, Mother Nature is a cruel and unforgiving mistress.

It’s not all doom and gloom, and of course nothing should discourage you from getting outdoors and maximizing your adventure.  However, a few things to remember may save your life or your health the next time you are on the trail here in the desert southwest.

1.  Plan Ahead

Knowing where you’re going and what it’s going to be like when you get there is key.  Will there be a reliable water supply?  What is the terrain like?  What are the weather conditions going to yield?  What kind of special gear do you need?  Will there be quick help in the case of an emergency?

Having all the information may seem obvious, but it is amazing how many people we run into, especially in this part of the world, that are woefully unprepared for even a short hike in the desert.  They don’t know where they’re going, they don’t have enough provisions or the right gear, they are wildly arrogant, or badly misinformed.  Any of those shortcomings can result in peril, so know what you’re doing and have a plan.

2.  Bring Water

This falls into preparation, but it is almost unbelievable the amount of people we see every year carrying nothing but one bottled water.  It’s 90 degrees, no shade, no moving water, and you and your group of 7 want to make it 6 miles?  People, bring more water than you think you need, and cache it along the trail.

3.  Bring More Water

See above.

4.  Bring even more water

— And drink it consistently, not gulping gallons after long periods of not drinking.  If you feel thirsty, dehydration is already setting in.

5.  Beware the edge

The edge of cliffs, the edge of trees with thorns, the edge of the trail, the edge of sharp rocks, the edge of potential wildlife (snake) burrows, and so on are all things you should be aware of.  Don’t venture out on perilous outcrops, don’t stick your hand where you can’t see, and be on notice that everything in the desert will fight back (even the prettiest of flowers)

6.  Protect yourself from the sun

Hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, and light-colored synthetic clothing are essential to avoiding sunburn, and even worse, heat stroke.  Although a sunburn may be uncomfortable, heat stroke can be deadly, and out here in the desert it will creep up on you much quicker than you think.

7.  Make Common Sense Decisions

Again, this may seem condescending, but common sense can save your life.  Do you really need to snap that outrageous selfie?  Does your dog really need to come with you into a slot canyon?  Is finishing this hike more important than living?  People that find themselves in a bind have almost always made a series of decisions that put marginal gains ahead of group safety.

8.  Carry the right gear

Before you set out on any hike, you should have these things:  Proper footwear, water, first aid, and navigation materials (map, compass, GPS).

9.  Have Fun!

Walk at a reasonable pace, keep the group together, take breaks, drink plenty, eat plenty, stay in the shade, and enjoy the views.  If you can do this, you will make it back to tell everyone of your grand adventures.

Of course, instead of taking this all into your own hands, you could let one of Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism’s geologist/guides take care of all of this for you.  We are Wilderness First Responder Certified, First Aid/CPR trained, and have years of wilderness experience.  We will make sure that you have fun, and make it back in one piece!  However, we just want to make sure that any adventure you take, with or without us, is memorable and safe for you and everyone that you are with.  See you out there!

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring Grand Canyon, or any of the National Parks, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guide is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with expert geologist/guides.  Our backcountry meals use fresh ingredients, and are planned by a professional chef.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore.  In conclusion, you can visit National Parks, but going with a guide can create and even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

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For adventure hiking vacations in a geologic time machine, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

For geological musings read The Goat’s geology blog.

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Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time — Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism