I’m referring, of course, to the lauded “10 Essentials” for day hiking that have been spoken of in story and song. When I first began my journey from runnerhood to hikerdom, I discovered the 10-E list on Philip Werner’s site Sectionhiker.com, and committed to purchase these items before I set one foot in the Hundred Mile Wilderness. The non-perishables on the list (apart from the ones my wife surprised me with for my birthday on Sunday!) arrived yesterday:
So, I’m ready. And I have a real-life cautionary tale to motivate me to carry this stuff I’ll be carefully packing in my trusty Kestrel 28.
Two weeks ago, a mother and daughter left for a day hike in New Zealand with a pack containing only water and snacks. Well, they got lost. And endured a five day-long nightmare. Thankfully, they were rescued and are fine. But as I was reading the story of their adventure, I was ticking off in my head how having the “10 Essentials” along would have eased (and probably shortened) their ordeal. A map and compass. First aid kit. Headlamp for when it got dark. Emergency shelter for the cold nights that forced them to literally lay on top of one another to preserve body heat. And so on.
Again, I’m glad they’re okay. So many of these stories don’t have a happy ending. But I thank them for inadvertently hammering home the need for carrying survival basics on remote day hikes. And even though my first foray into the HMW will only be a six mile out-and-back, I’ll be stocked up with my version of the “10 Essentials” and prepared to have a fighting chance should I get turned around and lost as they did.
Two people have wandered off the AT and died in this state, one of them in the Hundred Mile Wilderness (who still hasn’t been found more than 30 years later). I have no desire to make it a hat trick…