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403 Hikers Code - Leave Your Plans 2011-05-23

Hiking in the Park

You are responsible for yourself, leave your plans. (Hike Safe)

Years ago the president of the outdoors club at the small college I attended went missing. We had gone caving the day before and had not returned home at his predicted time. He had not told his wife anything other than he was going caving.

We did not find him until the next day and then we just happened to find him. He went caving with a friend, drove his friends vehicle, and did not leave plans. I am sure his friend's car was spotted the first day; but it was not his and no one looked any further. The story ended well, and other than the lost duo having to spend a wet, cold, dark night in a cave there was no harm. There miserable night could have been prevented, if they had left plans with someone. (A Lost Story)

The Hikers Code emphasizes to users that they are responsible for their own actions in the backcountry. By preparing yourself with knowledge and gear and leaving your plans before starting the trip, you accept the responsibility of your actions.

Leaving an itinerary of your trip, takes the search out of search and rescue. If in the unlikely event of a rescue, your plans will lead the rescuers to your location. There could still be some finding involved in the rescue; but the rescuers would not have to search the entire Park, if they knew what trail you were going to walk and where you were camping.

A few planning hints ...

Recorded plans are the best. Recorded plans could be a hand written schedule, email, a text message, or voice message. If you just tell someone about your plans, your words could easily be forgotten or misinterpreted.

Once the plans are given, you must stick with the plans or inform your contact of the changes.

Keep a copy of your plans in your pack. Refer to the plans as needed.

The days of smart phones and internet has made it easier to leave information.

The chances of getting mobile phone reception at a trailhead is not that good.

Do not leave trip plans in you vehicle window or if you leave the plans do not leave anything of value in your vehicle. It's sad, but thieves see vehicles at trailheads. as easy targets

Include in the itinerary the approximate hour of your return and the hour that you would consider yourself late. Be realistic.

Include the phone number of the Land Manager's office of the area you are visiting.

Make sure that you call your contact at the end of the trip.

Leaving plans with a contact insures that in the event of an emergency you will be found, as long as you stick to your plans. Now, that is insurance.

Happy leaving your plans for the 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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