Pre-Hike PlanningA few weeks ago my branch had a Mama whose car ran out of gas. At the end of the hike her car wouldn’t start. We were about 45 miles from town and without cell service. To make a long story short we were able to get in touch with her husband who brought up a full can of gas.

The specific details of this event aren’t all that important, but what’s important is to realize that we need to be prepared for the unexpected.

Any one of us could run out of gas on the way to or from a hike. If you’re like me and trying to juggle family, work, hiking and life, you’ll know that a good night’s sleep rarely happens. When I’m tired it’s easy for me to forget to do things that aren’t routine.

To prevent things like this and ensure that my head is screwed on before I take my precious kids into the wilderness I’ve become fanatical about planning.

Before scheduling a Hike it Baby hike, or venturing off into the wilderness any time I ask myself the following questions.

  • Where are we going?
  • What should we pack?
  • When are we leaving and when are returning?
  • What is the weather going to be like?
  • What are our emergency plans?
  • What else does our group need to know?

This is just a generic checklist, for my own planning purposes I break each question down even further. For the sake of brevity I’ll give a few examples.

  • When it comes to my packing list I always have a small headlamp in my daypack no matter what time of the day I hike. You never know when something might happen and you won’t make it back before dark or need to signal a rescuer. Part of this planning process is ensuring that the batteries in my headlamp are always charged.
  • Another example would be looking at a map and knowing exactly where we are going and how to get there before getting in the car and heading to the trailhead. This way I’m not tempted try to read a map or search for directions on my phone while driving.

When it comes to emergency plans, it’s important to think about not just emergencies that could arise during the hike, like an injury or a lost child, but emergencies like running out of gas or getting a flat tire in a remote area on the way to the trailhead or even coming across a stranded motorist on the highway who needs our help.

What questions do you ask yourself while planning a hike? Do you agree or disagree with the questions I ask myself? What would you add? What would you get rid of? How would you break down your questions a little bit further?

IMG_5464I’d love to chat about this as a group. So join me for a google hangout soon. Keep an eye on your local Hike it Baby Facebook page for 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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