Sad news stories are pretty common in our modern world. However, I was particularly upset by this story about two men who allegedly set booby traps on a popular hiking trail in Utah. (I’ve linked to an LA Times story, which is the most chilling account I’ve read about the incident.)
Luckily, no one was injured or killed by these traps because the trip wires were spotted by an alert park ranger. However, this situation is worrisome on so many levels. Those traps could have gone off. And it could have been me and my family on that trail.
Readers of this blog know how much I enjoy spending time outdoors with my daughter. I believe that time spent in nature is an essential part of a healthy childhood. Study after study has shown the benefits of playing outside: reduced stress levels, improved distance vision, increased Vitamin D levels…not to mention the learning process that goes on when kids can actually hear, touch, smell, and observe the natural world.
Although we often hike with my husband or with friends, there are times when my daughter and I hike alone.
I’m always very careful whenever we head out on a hike. I try to prepare for any curveballs Mother Nature could throw at us. We slather on the sunscreen, use bug spray if necessary, and always bring plenty of water. I make sure that I tell someone where we’ll be ahead of time in case we go missing. Sometimes I even check-in on Foursquare at the trailhead before we begin so that there is a record of our specific location within a park or natural area.
I’m used to thinking about protection from the elements. What frightens me is that we live in a world where people could leave deadly booby traps on hiking trails.
Will this story change our hiking habits? I’m not sure. Although this appears to be an isolated incident, it brings up a whole new category of safety issues in regards to hiking.
Want to learn more about hiking safety? Here are some great tips for kids from hikesafe.com.