Your Friendly Hise Hikers Tuesday Tip: Make A Plan, Share The Plan, And Stick To The Plan…
Every trip we go on, there are generally between 4 and 12 people that know our detailed itinerary.
That may seem like excess… however, the safety officer in me cannot help to be super prepared and I tend to err on the side of over-communicating. 😉
In addition to doing all of the research and getting the lay of the land (literally) for where we’ll be on a backpacking trip, print maps, make sure we have printed maps in case our tech fails, I also take a few hours (yes, literally) to draw up our “Reconn Trip Record” for both Jason and me. And we suggest that anyone backpacking with us to do the same and leave their forms with their emergency contact at home as well.
The Reconn form outlines our trip details and itinerary, where we intend to camp, our hiking experience as well as a photo of each of us, of our gear, the tread of our shoes, and a map of the area we are hiking…
Once it’s complete, we email it to everyone. In the email, we outline the trip details, where we are staying the night before we start… our camping locations, as well as advising that we have brought extra food to ensure an extra day on the trail if needed. We do that in case of an injury or if we’re moving extra slowly or for any other reason at all. We ask that our contacts not reach out to law enforcement or search and rescue until they haven’t heard from us after that additional day.
Then, we print a copy and leave it on the dashboard of our vehicle at the trailhead.
This step is perhaps the most important… if something were to happen and the sheriff or search and rescue had to be called to find us, our contacts would have our form and all of the info they need to begin a search. Additionally, if law enforcement searched our vehicle, they would find our itinerary and camp locations (as well as any day trips or side hikes we might have included) and this can be hugely instrumental in helping with rescue efforts.
While it seems tedious and overly-safety-officer-y… however, there have been countless stories of experienced outdoors people going out and getting lost and not returning. And, in fact, that’s part of the reason the Reconn Trip Form started. 🙂 It’s one of the measures we take to ensure the folks who are at home pacing the floor worried about us on our trips know where we are.