Know Before You Go
Always remember the goal of the adventures detailed on Exploring History in Your Hiking Boots is to live to tell your own story. You don’t want your own history to end on the trail. With that in mind, here are the steps we take before setting out on any trip.
Designate a Check In
We put this first for a reason. It’s the thing people do the least, but the thing that is most likely to save your life should you get into an emergency situation.
Prior to your trip, designate a trusted person who is not coming on your adventure to be your check-in. Give them your trip itinerary, including:
- First and last names of the people in your group.
- Photos or physical descriptions of the group.
- Cell phone numbers of those in the group.
- A photo of the vehicle and license plate number.
- The trailhead or location where the vehicle will be parked.
- The planned backcountry route.
- Your estimated return time.
Let your check-in person know if you do not call in by a pre-determined time, that they should call 911 to request Search and Rescue Assistance. In the event the person has to make that call, the information you gave them will help locate you more efficiently.
Have a plan
We created Exploring History in Your Hiking Boots to make this part easy. Much the information about the locations on the website have been lost over time, which makes it hard to develop a good plan. It’s also what makes these places fun to find. Just remember that while we’ve done our best to give you the information to get you started, you are not going to have cell phone reception to access this website while you are out there. And nothing can replace your own good planning.
Check Weather Conditions
A creek that you can jump across in August could be a raging river in April. A gentle trail in July could be an avalanche waiting to happen in February. While it’s sunny at your house there could be a thunderstorm at your destination. Exploring History in Your Hiking Boots cannot prepare you for these things. Check your trusted weather resource before you head out and if there is a ranger station near your trailhead, stop there too for an update.
Find Out Fees & Permissions
Every agency and land manager has different rules. While Exploring History in Your Hiking Boots has done our best to let you know the scoop, these rules change from time to time without notice. Before you leave home double check if you can really ride your bike or bring your dog on a trail.
There is nothing worse than arriving at a trailhead only to find out that you need a parking permit only sold 30 miles back down the road. Double check fees and permissions online or stop at the nearest ranger station before the trail. Many of the agencies managing these lands are in desperate need of finding and will gladly slap you with a ticket if you don't follow the rules.
Gather your gear
Being correctly geared up can be the difference between an awesome trip and a miserable one. There are so many items to cover that we have a created a page dedicated to gear >
Bring a Buddy
Hiking or adventuring alone is stupid for so many reasons. Just don’t do it. If none of your friends or family wants to join you, find a local club or Meetup group. Chances are there's people just like you nearby.
After a lot of consideration, we have decided to include difficulty ratings. We had resisted because we believe they can be misleading. It is much smarter to know yourself, know your limits, and listen to your own body. What is normally an “easy” trail for you, could be “challenging” if you have not had enough sleep or are not well hydrated.
If you find yourself on a trail where you or someone in your group feels unsafe, the best choice is always to turn back. We’ve done it before and we can tell you it’s hard, but the goal is always to make it back safely to tell your tale and try again another day.