When I first started to get into backcountry hiking and backpacking, my family thought I was absolutely crazy. Actually, some of them still do. Each year, there are media reports of unfortunate hikers who run into trouble in the backcountry and are either lost, injured, or tragically perish. I have explained to my family that, while even seasoned and prepared hikers do sometimes have accidents in the backcountry, a majority of the tragic stories you read about concern hikers who enter the backcountry unprepared.
While it is true that no amount of preparation can completely eliminate the risks an dangers of backcountry hiking, the same can be said about virtually everything in life. No matter how vigilant we are, accidents can happen. Even with something as routine as driving a car, taking safety precautions such as wearing a seatbelt, driving the speed limit, and paying attention to the road isn’t always enough to keep us safe. However, like with driving, taking certain safety precautions while hiking in the backcountry can significantly increase the likelihood that you will complete your hike safe and sound.