I made some of these mistakes when I was young and inexperienced, and I made some of the mistakes when I was older and should have known better.
I was too embarrassed to confess these to my prepping friends because I consider myself an experienced outdoors guy.
My mistakes ranged from underestimating the strength of a shallow river to thinking I could scramble up the smooth slope of a ravine.
I was lucky enough to learn from my mistakes and become a better outdoorsman, but the experience was not without some embarrassment.
Stay On The Trail – No Matter What
Hiking is a great way to get outdoors, enjoy nature, and practice your skills but it can also be dangerous if you’re unprepared or don’t follow the rules.
Once I made the mistake of veering off the trail while hiking in an unfamiliar area.
I had a topographical map and wanted to see some off-trail terrain.
I figured I could get back onto the path later that afternoon near the campsite.
But the terrain was more difficult than I expected, forcing me to backtrack.
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I then doubled down on my first mistake by trying to take another shortcut I thought I could read on the map.
I spent two days wandering through the wilderness, trying to get back to the trail. After a while I was exhausted, semi-dehydrated, and starting to become panicked.
Eventually I made it back onto the trail by joining up where I had left the path in the first place, but it was a frightening and stressful experience that taught me a valuable lesson.
Unless you are familiar with the terrain, stay on the trail!
Crossing Water And Waterproof Bags
It was a hot summer’s day, and I was hiking through a local nature reserve. It was the perfect day to be out in nature.
My path took me across a wide but shallow river with a fast flowing current.
There was a hanging bridge a few miles downstream where I needed to cross, but I could see the trail on the opposite side of the river and thought to spare my weary legs.
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I figured I could easily cross it without any trouble. I stepped into the river, and though it felt too unsafe, I thought I was overreacting.
Before I knew it, I was swept along by the water. I grabbed onto a nearby tree branch and clung on for dear life.
Eventually I managed to make it back to shore, but all my gear was soaked through and through. I underestimated the river’s strength and had to walk for hours in damp clothes.
This made for a very uncomfortable and dangerous journey I will never forget.
You Are Not A Monkey – Don’t Act Like One
I was on a hiking trip in the mountains and had decided to take a detour down a ravine. I was familiar with the area and wanted to try a route I had seen before but never had time to explore.
The route took me up a dry ravine with many smooth rocks. I reached a point where I had to turn back or climb up a twenty feet high, smooth rock-face that didn’t look dangerous.
I proceeded to climb up the smooth and slick wall of the ravine.
To my shock and dismay, I found myself stuck halfway up. Unable to move up or down, and I became quite panicked.
After a few long moments of deliberation, I realized that the only way to escape my predicament was to jettison my backpack.
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I reluctantly detached my backpack from my body and watched in dismay as it slid down the ravine and out of sight. I was able to climb to safety, but with my heart pounding and my palms sweaty from fear.
Then I had to walk a long way around back to the ravine to retrieve my backpack. Thankfully, my pack was still intact when I reached it.
I had learned my lesson and from then onwards, I never scramble up rocks unless equipped and with experienced climbers in my group.
The Golden Rule Of The Fires – Never Leave A Fire Unattended
I was camping in the wilderness and decided to make a campfire for the night.
I made sure to make the fire a safe distance away from anything that could catch fire.
And I also cleared away any debris that could catch fire.
I was sure the fire was a safe size, but from exhaustion, I fell asleep next to it without extinguishing the fire.
The night was cool and I fell asleep next to the fire with my boots still on. In the middle of the night, I woke with a jolt, and it felt like my foot was on fire.
I sat up and noticed that the sole of one of my boots was smoldering. I jumped up and quickly stamped out the fire on the sole of the boot.
Thankfully my foot wasn’t burned but the runner sole of the boot was hard and deformed. I had to finish the hike with one shoe coming apart as I walked.
When we think about what could go wrong in a survival situation, we always tend to think about gear and equipment first. But, as I have learnt, sometimes it’s basic common sense that could cause your downfall.
Stick to the basics. Don’t think you can outwit the common sense advice that all children are taught as the basic rules of camping and hiking.
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