Monday, May 23, 2011

How to Spend a Miserable Night in the Bush - Judith and Peter Hawkins


The title of this article grabbed my attention because I thought it was going to be about a couple of inexperienced hikers fooling around and struggling to sleep either in the woods or literally in a bush with no tent or proper gear. The article was actually about experienced hikers who unsuccessfully tried to extend their hiking trip by a few kilometers before they headed back to their car.

Judith and Peter Hawkins were hiking in the New York area on a hot, breezy, blue sky kind of day when they decided their 17 km hike wasn’t satisfying enough. They added an extra 3-5 km and were confident they’d make it back to the car on time. The sun started to disappear and night came sooner than expected. Before the hikers knew it, they were stuck in pouring rain and pitch black (couldn’t even see their own hands) with no more water, only wearing shorts and t-shirts, no bug spray (but plenty of mosquitoes), and no light source but a watch one of them was wearing. They weren’t lost but they couldn’t see where they were heading. Thankfully they were able to find a lake to fill up their water bottles and continue to crawl to their car on their hands and knees to avoid twisted ankles or injuries. No sleep that night, but at 6am the next morning they were able to locate the car.

This story just goes to show that no matter what hiking experience level you are at, you have to be smart and prepared even when you’re confident that you’ll be fine. The two hikers admitted that they were embarrassed and will make sure to make better judgments from now on.

Hawkins, Judith and Peter. “How to Spend a Miserable Night in the Bush.” Ottawa Outdoors Mag. Fall/Winter 2009-2010. Page 18.

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