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Backcountry Nightmares

This page is intended to give some advice to backcountry hikers for some of those problems that we all hope will never happen, but sometimes, inevitably, do. Nobody wants to think about these things, I know I never do, but as the saying goes "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail". It is always a good practice to be aware of where you are, of what could happen to you, and to have some sort of plan for how you will deal with it if it does. Sometimes being careful is enough to prevent these problems, but sometimes they happen anyway. If you are hiking solo, as I frequently do, then you need to be extra careful. You're on your own out there and if you run into trouble the only person who is going to help you is yourself.

Personally, my biggest fear when I am traveling the Grand Canyon backcountry are the scorpions. In fifteen years of hiking I have never seen one so I guess I've been rather lucky. Still, I know that they are there and when I think about it, it really bugs me.

Most problems with scorpions can be avoided by common sense and by heeding the advice of the park rangers. If you leave your boots outside your tent at night, make sure you bang them together and shake them out real good before you put them back on. Scorpions like damp places and a pair of boots that have been hiked in for many miles are the perfect home for them. If you've got room inside your tent then you would be even better off to bring them in with you at night. If you're one of those people that don't use a tent in the backcountry then my heart goes out to you, "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!"

As for some other problems, I asked one of the Backcountry Rangers a series of questions regarding some other problems that might occur. Here are the questions and the responses that I received:

Neither the author nor the National Park Services assumes any responsibility for the advice offered on this page.

Read the bottom line of your BACKCOUNTRY USE PERMIT, it says:


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