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Is Hiking Dangerous?

Q. Is hiking dangerous?
A. There are risks, including: falling, heat exhaustion, sunstroke, dehydration, sunburn, equipment failure, unavailable medical assistance for medical emergencies, animals (rattlesnakes, lions, coyotes, longhorn steer, rats, mice, bears), stinging or biting insects, fist sized spiders, poisonous plants, darkness, hunger, weather exposure, sharp rocks, rugged, uneven, and slippery trails, plant overgrowth obscuring the path, plant thorns, rapidly changing conditions, fatigue, tripping, toe stubbing, physical exertion, path blockage, dirt, lack of shade, cliffs, steep paths, no bathrooms, getting lost, blisters, chafing, boredom, no internet or phone, bright sun, water crossings, road crossings, dogs, path closures, fallen trees and branches, fires and smoke, lightning, altitude sickness, hypothermia, twisted ankle, cuts from passing branches, falling rocks or other debris, venturing onto private property or closed trails, and even being attacked by other hikers.

Please don't expect that we have listed everything you need to have with you, and every risk possible. Some, including amounts, vary by location, time of year, time of day, weather, and planned route.

Water: Don't run out. Bring at least 1 liter for every 3 miles, double that on hot days and on hikes you may find difficult and/or exhausting.

By attending an event hosted by this group, you agree to assume all risks listed, and any other risks associated with the event, including incorrect information. You understand that event hosts and event organizers are volunteers, not trained leaders. You agree that you will not hold any of the event hosts or organizers of this group liable or responsible. You are responsible for you, and this also applies to any guests you invite.

Q. How are expectations set?
A. At Hiking Plus, we try to describe well so you have accurate expectations.

Route: The host knows the route unless it is stated that they do not.

Navigation: Host memory, enhanced by GPS navigation as needed. A route that has been hiked many times can look different at various times of the year or night vs. day.

Hike Type: All our hikes are social unless the description explicitly says it's a conditioning hike. When a hike type is social, we won't be hiking at a fast pace. The pace of a social hike is 2mph. For conditioning hikes, the pace will be posted. On a social hike, there is nothing wrong with stopping, even if it means every 50 steps. See How Hard is This Hike.

The host may designate stopping points to let others catch up. This hike will include an extended stop for a snack and beverage share, usually at the half way point, but sometimes towards the end of the route.

We will stop at junctions to make sure everybody makes any turns or chooses the correct direction at splits, else something will be used to mark the direction, usually a large arrow made of baking soda, or if not available, a bunch of sticks. There may not always be a sweeper designated to be the last hiker.

Each hiker is responsible for knowing their capability, only attending events where they are able to sustain the described pace, for keeping up with the group sufficiently enough to make the turns and not get left behind, and for making sure the host is notified if they are going to split from the group.

Group separation:
Sometimes hikers wish to move significantly ahead and not wait at designated stopping points. Please let the host know. They are on their own regarding route and navigation. If others follow, it is group hijacking: Incorrect routes may be taken and group splitting may occur. Please don't do this.

Q. Trail Rules?
A. It's very hard to know all the rules, and there are probably some that you're not even aware of. Rules may vary by time of year, park district, individual parks, posted rules, and managing entity. There may even be conflicting rules.

The event host or a fellow hiker might say something if someone is creating a hazard, throwing trash around, or otherwise ignoring common etiquette. Don't expect that the host knows the rules or will be enforcing any. Each person takes self responsibility for any activity.

More on Rules

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Rules March 3, 2021 2:47 PM Jim
Is Hiking Dangerous? March 3, 2021 2:51 PM Jim
Frequently Asked Questions July 22, 2021 8:49 AM Jim
About Hiking Plus January 29, 2020 2:16 PM Jim

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