How to Prepare for the Unexpected (1)One thing that I love about the wilderness is the great unknown. On any given day you never know what you’re going to encounter or what you’re going to see.

Last summer my uncle was mountain biking along trails that I frequently hike with my children. It was a beautiful summer day and he rode right past a mountain lion. He looked a the mountain lion, the mountain lion looked at him and then just casually wandered off. At first his story terrified me, but then I realized that almost every day I play on a field where I don’t have a home court advantage.

It’s risky out there and the only way to avoid it is to just stay home. For me, and probably you too, that’s simply not an option.

There’s risk when we load our kids up in the car and drive them to the trailhead.

There’s risk that our car could get broken into at the trailhead.

There’s risk that we might twist an ankle, get bitten by a snake, have a less than friendly encounter with wildlife, or fall off a cliff.

So how do you plan and prepare for emergencies?

How do you know how much risk is acceptable?

How do you mitigate risk?

I don’t know the answers, but here’s what I do.

How to Prepare for the Unexpected (2)Whenever I’m hiking I try to turn my brain on and really think about my surroundings. I put myself through little “what if” scenarios while I’m driving to and from the trailhead. When my husband and I get to have a date night, we often talk about things like what we would do if a mountain lion did try to snatch up one of our children.

It’s not easy to talk through these scenarios, but these little mental rehearsals make me feel more confident, help me plan better, and hopefully if I run into an emergency situation I’ll be prepared and I won’t be caught off guard.

So now let’s talk about emergencies that we could encounter to and from the trails or on the trails. What are some of your most feared scenarios? Go ahead, be bold, and leave a comment below.

My most feared scenario is anything that involves a mountain lion and in many parts of the country this is a very real scenario. Once you’ve told us what fears you have, let’s start talking about ways to mitigate this risk and alleviate this fear. Now, I think that some fear is healthy because it keeps us from doing dumb things, but as a community let’s talk about emergencies, risk and mitigation.

I’d love to chat about this as a group. So join me for a google hangout soon. Check your local Hike it Baby Facebook page for an announcement with details. If you’re interested comment below with your gmail address or send an email to rebecca (at)justtrails(dot)com

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