Goin' on a 'venture
My grandson Wade loves to be “in the trees.” He giggles with excitement as he tells me how much he loves the green trees! He has a great love of the outdoors and all that nature offers. Connor, another grandson, loves to take his flashlight and “go on a venture!” Put these two loves together and one can only think of hiking! Summertime always gets me itchin’ to go out in the trees on my own venture! My husband and I love hiking, even if it’s just exploring our own land. However one time down in West Virginia we found ourselves a bit turned around and, to be blunt, lost. This was before Russ became a licensed hiking guide and learned the importance of thorough planning and preparation, for any wilderness “venture.” We hadn’t taken our compass GPS coordinates before we left; we didn’t even have a compass, neither did we have a pocket knife or warm clothes for the dropping temperature, and we hadn’t told anyone we were going out. Eventually we found a stream and followed it down to the road. Our half hour little hike turned into two and a half hours and we were much farther from our cabin than we had anticipated. While getting lost can certainly be a lot worse than that experience was, we’ve learned the importance of planning our hikes and being prepared for the unexpected. Cell phones are essential in case you are thoroughly lost. A compass reading and a few items packed in advance make the trip that much safer. I recently learned from my husband that those bulletin board kiosks at the trailheads, while providing information, are also meant for you to tack your name and hiking plans to. Write the time you entered the trail and the time you anticipate returning. If there’s more than one trail, write down which way you intend to go. Then be sure to let someone back home know where you are going hiking, and when you plan to return. If you are lost, and without cell service, these are very helpful to those out looking for you. Always take a pocket knife, some snacks and water, a jacket and your compass. You might even consider a hiking guide, especially if you are going hiking in unfamiliar territory, like the mountains of West Virgin..