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The hazards of solo hiking

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The hazards of solo hiking

Postby sirlight » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:47 am

Easter sunday went bad for me. I had decide to a 20 mile backpack in the Agua Tibia wilderness to keep these feet in hiking shape for the Sierra this summer. It was raining lightly, but I decided to go anyway. The first 7 miles is all good trail and beyond that it is bushwhacking. I was about 2.5 miles in when the edge of the wet trail I was on collapsed. My foot went sideways and ended up putting all my weight on my right ankle. Needless to say, that ended the backpack and it was very painful trip back to my truck. It took over 4 hours to limp that 2.5 miles.

Had some x-rays yesterday and nothing is broken, just badly sprained. I have been sitting here in my recliner ever since with ice on it. It’s a very nice shade of purple now. Looks like I will not be out hiking for a while. I am just glad I was not 10 miles in when this happened. What a klutz! Pay better attention to where you are stepping! I would love to say I messed up my ankle doing a rugged cross-country route or climbing a mountain, but it was GOOD trail.

So this has me thinking about the various hazards out on the trail and how to deal with them. It only takes one wrong step to make your entire hike go wrong. Besides having a first aid kit and knowing how to use it there appears to be not much you can to other than hike out or wait for help.

Watch you step out there!



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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:37 am

It's the reality we always face when entering the wild. Disaster can strike at any moment from the most unlikely places. Some hazards can be mitigated others cannot.

It's just good that you did not break anything and will be ready for summer hiking.
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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby oldranger » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:20 am

Sirlight

This is kind of a knock on wood statement. But all my near misses (never injured) when hiking have never been on the nasty stuff but I have fallen flat on my face a few times on well maintained trails. Off trail I tend to pay better attention to what I am doing.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby sirlight » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:51 am

oldranger wrote:all my near misses (never injured) when hiking have never been on the nasty stuff
Funny how seemingly “safe” areas can be some of the most hazardous. It’s easy to let your guard down and make a mistake.
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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:04 pm

Yup, I worry most about things I do to myself. Just hiked out to Mississippi Lake in Henry Coe SP - the trails in Coe are roads, maintained to continue to be roads, since they routinely service the pit toilets in the most popular areas and allow those with private property out in the park drive out to their property. Yet I managed to step on something and twist so that a muscle in the back of my calf is now sore. I had a few seconds of "OH S*&*" when it happened - I was out there on Sunday afternoon and Monday, and there were NO other backpackers on the board when I checked in, plus the staff doesn't work Monday or Tuesday. I saw none of the usual bikers or trail runners on my route, either. Was happy that it turned out not to be a bad injury but a mild tweak I could walk out on...
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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:58 pm

I have fallen flat on my face a few times on well maintained trails.


Lol so have I. Below Evolution Valley last year a small root on the side of the trail caught my pants ankle and took me hard to the ground. Only a few small cuts and ripped clothing but it could have been worse.
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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby quentinc » Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:36 pm

Since it's true confession time, I once fell flat on my face on the JMT. It was just south of Vidette Meadows on what is virtually a fire road and, to make matters worse, there were witnesses. It's always been my philosophy that there is no place more dangerous than a trail. Except a highway, driving to & fro the backpack.
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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby Tom » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:08 pm

Late Fall several years ago I was fishing near Wallace Creek. I was working my way to the Kern and into some decent Goldens and Brookies.

The morning before I was going to hit Junction Meadows I got up early and fished. At one point I stepped onto a log that was iced and I fell on the log on the small of my back. After laying half in the stream and taking stock of any injuries I finally decided that I wasn't hurt too badly. I whimpered my way back to camp. Packed and headed for the gorge.

As the day wore on I began having blood in my urine. More complications as I started having spasms and almost had several involuntary bladder voids. The blood become constant. Too much info? I'll stop the descriptions.

I knew that there was probably someone manning the ranger station on the southern end of the park. I slowly headed that direction. After 3 and a half days I made it to the ranger station. The whole time I saw no one else. However, by that time all of the symptons had cleared up and I continued fishing the Kern for another week.

The hazy point being that anything can happen and most people I know that are wilderness travelers keep their heads about them and develope plans.
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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:21 pm

Sounds like your lucky to be alive Tom.
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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:36 pm

I guess my worst tweaks were in the middle of nowhere, although I've had minor ankle tweaks on the trail, one ungaingly front flip descending the Taboose Pass trail in the dark. My worst backcountry injuries were: 1. broken ankle dodging boulder at Upper Horton (solo). My dad was back at Lower Horton. Resulted in cancelling climb of Basin Mtn next day. Limped/crawled across talus field and hopped back to camp, then hopped out with full pack the next day. 2. hyperextended knee somewhere above Davis Lakes on way back to camp (with buddy) coming back from summit climb of Mt. Rodgers. Just went along with trip plan and hiked out next day. 3. Two broken fingers at Harriet Lake falling while fishing (with wife and buddy). Three days to go on trip and simply continued it.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:52 pm

Twice when soloing off-trail, after many days seeing nobody, I have fallen flat on my face right in front of people when I meet them. Never hurt, except it is very embarrasing!

My more serious injuries luckily occurred when I was with groups. Got hit on back with huge rock on the Grand Teton - numbed my hands and arms and others had to help me rappel five pitches down, then spend the night at the lower saddle chugging down pain killers. We walked out, but the others had to carry my pack. I had years of nerve problems after that. Never went to a doctor - too poor and no insurance.

I have slipped on a mossy rock smack in the middle of descending Tenaya Canyon, just below the last rappel. I did the splits in the middle of the creek and tore a hamstring. I was dunked in ice cold water so the others bundled me up and got me warm. I had to have help walking at first but by the time we reached the trail near Mirror Lake I could walk very well. After the drive home, all the bruising showed up. I probably could have crawled out myself, but it was mighty nice to have help. One of the guys was an ER nurse. How's that for luck!

On a solo trip I fell over a small cliff bushwhaking in Trinity Alps- sprained my ankle as it hung up on a tree limb. I walked out 8 miles on a trail. The drive home was what did it in. I hobbled around for weeks.

Another thing is illness. Years ago my ex-husband and I were walking down Crazy Woman Creek in Wyoming and I just got really sick. I could not walk up the hill! I had to be carried. We got to town and I had a 105 fever. That experience really humbled me and made me realize that you can be totally wiped out with sickness. Had I been alone I would have probably just laid there and passed out.
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Re: The hazards of solo hiking

Postby Cross Country » Sun May 01, 2011 8:46 pm

Without a doubt I can't remember all of my injuries while backpacking. One was a slip on a log while fishing the Kings over Bishop Pass. Di and I were on our way back from Ladder Lake. My knee swelled up really badly. Hiking out was very difficult. Another was a badly sprained ankle on my way to Hangst Lake out of Mineral King, again with Di. Going back to the car was short (5-6 miles) but really tough. The worst one was when I went on a trip to Kid Lake only 3 days out of a cast for a ruptured quadriceps. I could barely walk, fell in the snow and re ruptured it. The full story is on HST "Hiking out of Kings Canyon" by me. One time I did a complete flip at high speed and fell on a rock on my back. Fortunately I had my pack on. If I hadn't it would probably have killed me (no joke). I was with Mike. It didn't hurt me at all.

My point to all this is that when I hike solo I'm a lot more careful (like OR said) and I never got hurt during 50 - 100 days solo.

That's Mike with Glacier Pass in the background, on the day of my flip. We were going from Little Fives to Mineral King that day.
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