Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Go Take a Hike – October

October 6, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Columns No Comments
Molly

By Molly Pinson Simoneau

I’m always looking for new local hikes to share with Blue Ridge Leader readers (and to enjoy myself!). On my most recent outing, I was exploring an area near Frederick, MD where I’d never been before. The weather was gorgeous, and I was enjoying the softly ascending trail which meandered through the woods, and passed still ponds. I arrived at a vista which provided a perfect view of the valley, where I enjoyed my peanut butter sandwich, before continuing on the second half of my trek.

Then, about a mile later, something happened to me that has never happened in all my years of hiking. I lost the trail. I was just marching along, as I always do, and then, I wasn’t sure which way to go. The trails weren’t very well marked, and the beaten path seemed to just fade away. My written guide said to look for the trail to veer off to the right. I looked for fallen leaves pulverized by dozens of footsteps, or an opening in the forest brush, but just couldn’t make out a path.

In a moment like this, many inexperienced hikers follow what they assume is a trail, they figure, if they keep pushing forward, they’ll get back on track. It is exactly the kind of mistake that will land you on the Today Show, to tell Matt Lauer how you survived three nights alone in the woods eating insects before you were rescued. If you ask me, that’s not the best way to earn your 15 minutes of fame.

In that moment where you’re not sure where you’re trail goes, here’s what you should do, and it’s what I did:

First, stop and think. I wasn’t sure which way the trail went. I searched for a trail that continued forward but didn’t see one. I knew that I still had the trail I came in on. Turning around and retracing your steps is always a safe option.

I also had a topo map, compass and a written trail guide. I sat down and got them out of my pack. Looking at the contour lines on the map, I was pretty sure I knew where I was, and I could see that there was a gravel fire road nearby which the trail had crossed earlier. I made the decision to try to make my way to that fire road. I oriented my map with the compass and began walking back towards the road, which eventually led me back to where I had parked my car. (Although, not without a second moment of panic where a missing landmark led me to believe that I wasn’t on the road I thought I was. Fortunately, I was exactly where I thought I was.)

This episode reminded me of how important it is to be prepared for the worst ever y time you hit the trail. When I’m hiking in an unfamiliar area, or on a trip longer than 5 miles or so, I always carry The Ten Essentials, many of which can be found at outdoor outfitter stores.

  • Navigation: That means a map and compass. GPS units are great tools, but are useless once the battery power runs out.
  • Sun protection: I usually wear a baseball cap. Sunscreen will also do the trick. It’s also important to protect your eyes with sunglasses. This becomes crucial in exposed areas like meadows or deserts.
  • Insulation: Even if it’s warm outside, you’ll want to bring a sweatshirt as it can get cool at night or in the rain. As fall approaches a warm hat that covers your ears is essential.
  • Illumination: A head-mounted flashlight is best.
  • First Aid: Your kit should include bandages, pain reliever, antihistamine, and antiseptic ointment, and a cold compress, at the very least.
  • Fire: You’ll want something to light a fire, and kindling. I always bring a simple cigarette lighter and a zip-top bag full of dryer lint.
  • Nutrition: In addition to my lunch I always bring a couple energy bars for emergencies.
  • Hydration: Bring more water than you think you need. I also like to carry water purification tablets that kill harmful parasites and bacteria found in stream water.
  • Shelter: I carry a small emergency bivy sack which folds up to the size of a fist.
  • Communication: Cell phones are great, but not always reliable in the wilderness. A small mirror that you can use to reflect sunlight, or a whistle can get the attention of a search and rescue team if you ever find yourself in need of one.

Fortunately, most of these items have remained in the bottom of my pack unused. Carrying all of them might seem like overkill in a place that’s not too far from town as are most of the hikes I recommend in this column, but in the tradition of the Boy Scouts, it’s best to always be prepared.

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Superforecasting a Book Review

noerpel_new

The book “Superforecasting” by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner contains a nearly complete list of the attributes of superforecasting, as well as critical thinking. Tetlock’s research empirically confirms the aspects of critical thinking I’ve been discussing in this column. Their …

Pokémon GO: A Fun New Gaming App or an Accidental Treatment?

Michael_Pic

Penicillin was accidently discovered in 1928 when scientist Alexander Fleming returned to his lab from vacation to notice that a strange fungus growing on a culture had killed off the neighboring bacteria. After WWII, psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. John Cade, …

Brotherly Love

moore-sobelnewmug

– By Samuel Moore-Sobel There he was. A small, innocent being entering the world for the very first time. Can I touch him? Nervously, I lean forward. He seems so perfect, so completely serene. He is loved instantly. The last …

To The Teen Who Feels Alone

Lunde new

– By Mary Rose Lunde I’m going to do something real here and be honest for a second. In a society where telling someone your deep emotional feelings is considered weak, doing just that seems to be detrimental and could …

Unmotivated Teen

Michael_Pic

– By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, At our insistence, our 17-year-old son is going to get a summer job. Well, that’s what he agreed to, but we are two weeks into the summer and guess what … he doesn’t …

Time To Add Discipline To Your Good Money Habits

Smith0035

– By Amy and Dan Smith For many, their 30’s is a time to build a family and a stronger financial future That 30th birthday can be a somewhat traumatic event, but with people living longer, they say 50 is …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

(Be the first to comment)

Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

(Be the first to comment)

Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

July 2016
M T W T F S S
27

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

28

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

29

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

30

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

1

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

TGIF - Jake & the Burtones

2

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Ken Wenzel Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

3

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

4

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

5

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

6

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

7

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

8

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

9

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Yard Sale Benefiting EPIC

10

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Moon Music Live at North Gate Vineyard

11

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

12

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

13

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

14

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

15

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

16

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

17

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Quentin Walston Live at North Gate Vineyard

18

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

19

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Paint Your Pint

20

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

21

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

22

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

23

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

24

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

25

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

26

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

27

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

28

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

29

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

30

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

31

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

Farmers Urged To Be on the Lookout for Marijuana

23 Jul 2016

blueridge

Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this is a growing trend,” said Corporal Barbara Owens of the …

(Be the first to comment)

Bluemont Harvest Ball To Be Held on September 17 in Warrenton

20 Jul 2016

blueridge

To commemorate the organization’s 40th Anniversary, Bluemont has announces the first ever Bluemont Harvest Ball, to be held on September 17 from 6:30 pm to 11:00 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Warrantor. This black tie event will feature live music from the Silver Tones Swing Band, dancing, a four-course, seated dinner, an open bar, and a silent auction. Tickets …

(Be the first to comment)

What Do You Do To Stay Cool?

7 Jul 2016

ice-cubes

– By Amanda Clark “To chill out this summer I will spend a lot of my time playing music. During the summer, I have so much free time and I devote as much of it as I can to playing music.” – Michael Preston (Lovettsville) “To chill out this summer I will go to a friend’s house and borrow their …

(Be the first to comment)

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

blueridge2.jpg

– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

blueridge2.jpg

– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Lessons from Short Hill

shorthillmeeting

It’s been a little over two weeks since the Commission Permit for the proposed AT&T facility on Short Hill was overruled by the Board of Supervisors. This is just about …

Thank You

speak

Dear Citizens of Purcellville: As your town council member it is my vision and priority that you feel welcome at your Town Hall and take part in shaping Purcellville’s future …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Around Virginia

Blood Donors Asked To Help Address Summer Shortage

blueridge

Virginia Blood Services is urging Virginians to help replenish an extremely low summer blood supply and asking eligible donors to visit any one of its area Community Donor Centers or mobile blood drives. “Summer is always a challenging time for blood collections,” says Virginia Blood Services Executive Director, Todd Cahill. …

(Be the first to comment)

McAuliffe Announces New Exports for Virginia Lumber Companies To the United Kingdom

McAuliffe

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced new export sales of Virginia wood products to the United Kingdom (U.K.) during a trade and marketing mission to Israel and the U.K. The sales were struck between four Virginia lumber companies and James Latham PLC, one of the oldest and largest wood importers and distributors …

(Be the first to comment)

Governor McAuliffe Announces 105 New Jobs in the Town of Berryville and Clarke County

McAuliffe

Handsome Brook Farm, LLC to Invest More Than $6 Million to Establish Egg Processing Operation in Virginia RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that New York-based Handsome Brook Farm, LLC will invest $6.4 million to establish a new pasture raised egg processing operation in the Town of Berryville and …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Registration Open For Ida Lee’s Fall NFL Flag Football

7 Jul 2016

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Ida Lee’s Fall 2016 NFL Flag Football League will begin with player evaluations on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31.  Players must be registered by Tuesday, July 26, to participate. This fall, Ida Lee’s Leesburg NFL Flag Football House League will have the following age groups:  6-7; 8-9; 10-11; …

(Be the first to comment)

Everyone’s Getting Into Cannons Action!

6 Jul 2016

cannons

Purcellville Cannons? Baseball July Schedule July 9, 7 p.m. at home Covington? July 12, 7 p.m. away Winchester? July 13, 7:30 p.m. Harrisonburg? July 14, 7 p.m. at home Strasburg? July 15, 7 p.m. at home Woodstock? July 16, 7 p.m. away Front Royal? July 17, 7 p.m. at home …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009