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

Human Fingerprints on Climate Change

noerpel_new

Presented to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors – June 23, 2016 Recently I was asked whether humanity’s fossil fuel use was the cause of the current global warming. This is a good question and I’m not surprised that there …

Ice house, Hot House and Mad House

noerpel_new

Recently, I was asked: “I know we are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and scientists say that will warm the planet but there were also ice ages and warmer climates in the past before humans so what caused those …

Sugar Crash

Lunde new

Sugar runs inside our body and fuels our very being. In biology they teach us that sugar is really glucose which is broken down in the body to produce ATP (adenine tri-phosphate). So why bring this up? Well, sugar is …

The Art of Memory

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel Still Alice. A movie that not only elicits tears, but naturally incurs reflection. This heartrending movie was the starting point of a personal wrestling with the implications of human memory. Remembering can bring us back to a …

Living in Debt

Michael_Pic

Dr. Mike, My husband has issues with money that are hurting our relationship and family. He makes a lot of money, but he spends more than he makes and we are in debt. He can’t just have a luxury car, …

June in the Garden

juneingarden flowers

Conserve Water, Beat the Heat and Keep Things Blooming By Andrea Gaines It’s getting hot out there. And, there’s nothing more discouraging for a gardener that to come home after a weekend away – or miss a regular watering schedule …

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

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

blueridge2

By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Thank You

nedimogelman

It is with great anticipation that I look forward to Monday, June 27, 2016. On that day new Purcellville Town Council members will be sworn into office, at Town Hall. …

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 …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

(Be the first to comment)

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

(Be the first to comment)

Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

July 2016
M T W T F S S
27

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

28

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

29

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

30

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

1

Dancing Through Color

2

Dancing Through Color

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

3

Dancing Through Color

4

Dancing Through Color

5

Dancing Through Color

6

Dancing Through Color

7

Dancing Through Color

8

Dancing Through Color

9

Dancing Through Color

10

Dancing Through Color

Moon Music Live at North Gate Vineyard

11

Dancing Through Color

12

Dancing Through Color

13

Dancing Through Color

14

Dancing Through Color

15

Dancing Through Color

16

Dancing Through Color

17

Dancing Through Color

18

Dancing Through Color

19

Dancing Through Color

20

Dancing Through Color

21

Dancing Through Color

22

Dancing Through Color

23

Dancing Through Color

24

Dancing Through Color

25

Dancing Through Color

26

Dancing Through Color

27

Dancing Through Color

28

Dancing Through Color

29

Dancing Through Color

30

Dancing Through Color

31

Dancing Through Color

Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Lifestyle

Rummage Sale Trailers Open July 9

27 Jun 2016

rummage_sale

78th Annual Ladies Board Rummage Sale Ready For Donations The Ladies Board of Inova Loudoun Hospital is officially accepting donations for the annual Rummage Sale. The first Donation Day of the summer will be on Saturday, July 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Inova Loudoun Hospital, 44045 Riverside Parkway, Leesburg, and at Inova Loudoun Medical Campus – Leesburg, …

(Be the first to comment)

Troy and Paula Haag Perform at Old Stone School

9 Jun 2016

troy and paula haag 1a

Troy and Paula Haag, will appear on The Gap Stage at the Old Stone School on Saturday, June 18. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Dinner will be sold by Big Mike’s BBQ, drinks will be sold by the glass, and there will be desserts at intermission. Troy and Paula will be joined by Max Haag …

(Be the first to comment)

Here’s To the Colorists, Manicurists and Blow Dry Mavens… Thanks for Listening!

1 Jun 2016

hair color

Sunday, June 26 is Beauticians Day, celebrating the cosmetology and other experts who keep us looking and feeling our best – whether it’s with a haircut and style, a facial, a manicure, or just some quiet and light conversation.

(Be the first to comment)

Around Virginia

HUD Awards $2 Million in Housing Counseling Grants To Virginia

Kaine

Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that Catholic Charities USA, headquartered in Alexandria, will receive $951,150 in federal funding, and the Virginia Housing Development Authority, located in Richmond, will receive $1,040,918. This nearly $2 million grant by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) …

(Be the first to comment)

Four Hop, Skip and a Jump Local Destinations

morven

Last month we encouraged our readers to consider visiting any one of five great destinations within just a stone’s throw of Loudoun’s history-lined borders – Berryville and Harper’s Ferry among them. This month we feature four destinations – two right here in our much-celebrated county, and two just over the …

(2 comments)

Out and About Loudoun and Beyond

The Plains’ charming restaurants, shops and sidewalks.

Five Stone’s Throw Spring and Summer Destinations By Andrea Gaines Bordered by the Potomac River to the north and beautiful mountains to the west – and with easy access to Rt. 95, the Dulles Toll Road and Route 66 – Loudouners have no short list of fun spring places to …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

The Lady Vikings Earned Back-to Back Conference Title

1 Jun 2016

lvhs

The Lady Vikings earned the back-to back conference title with a 4-1 win over Heritage in late May. The team earned a first round playoff bye finishing first in the conference and then went on to defeat Rock Ridge 12-0 in the conference semi-finals. The Lady Vikings ended their regular …

(Be the first to comment)

Big Baseball Coming To Fireman’s Field

1 Jun 2016

purcellville cannons

Got Your Father’s Day Gift Lined Up Yet? The Purcellville Cannons’ Brett Fuller couldn’t be happier. He’s the owner of one of the most popular teams in the Valley Baseball League. The team, up until recently was called the Charles Town Cannons but now calls Purcellville its home.

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

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