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391 Hikers Code - Knowledge 2011-05-09

outdoor book library

You are responsible for yourself, be prepared with knowledge.

While visiting us, a friend was looking at my book collection. Knowing that I had been a hiker, climber, and mountaineer for most of my life, he asked, "why do you have all these hiking and backpacking books? Don't you know how to do hike, yet?"

I laughed and said, "yes, I always thought I knew how to hike, but there is still a lot I do not know."

He thought I was wasting money and time buying a hiking how-to book.

I thought each book was a worthy investment, if I only learned a few new things from each book.

Knowledge gives us power in all phases of our lives. In the outdoors, knowledge comes from training and experience.

My friend was probably right, I probably did not need all of those books. I could have learned the tricks of the trail from just experience; but learning through experience is tied to situations. I would have to be in a particular situation to learn the skill. For example, to learn from experience that duct tape is an adequate blister bandage, I would have to be hiking without any first aid blister patches and have duct tape available. Then, I would have needed that ah-ha moment where I would think, 'I am out of moleskin, patches, and first aid tape, I'll just see how the duct tape in my emergency kit does on blisters.'

There is a chance I would have self discovered the trick the first time I needed a patch; but there would also be a chance that I would have just hobbled home without a patch. and then made sure that I never ran out of patches again!

The knowledge of using duct tape made me a better hiker and outdoors person; but I have never actually used duct tape on a blister!

Users of the wilderness need to acquire a large skill set. A few tips on learning outdoor skills …

Hiking with others allows you to gain experience faster.

Hiking clubs and groups are great for beginners.

As your skill set grows, you may also increase hiking challenges (going solo, etc).

Until you have acquired the skill set, avoid the challenge. For example, if you do not know how to camp in bear country, do not go solo into bear country. Go on trips with others first to learn the skills.

Take courses to jump start your training. Leave No Trace and First Aid are offered regularly in training sessions.

Read hiking and outdoor books, internet sites, and magazines. If possible practice the tips that you learned.

A few of the skills to learn are: weather forecasting, navigation, GPS navigation, Leave No Trace, First Aid, cooking, making camp, survival, repair, and how to walk.

With knowledge you have the skill sets to travel in the wilderness and also wisdom to turn around when things just are not right.

Happy knowledgable trails


Hikers Code - Trailhead

Hikers Code - Knowledge

Hikers Code - Gear

Hikers Code - Leave Your Plans

Hikers Code - Stay Together

Hikers Code - Turn Back

Hikers Code - Emergencies

Hikers Code - Sharing


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