Wed, 2 Aug 1995 09:01:05 EST
When I first read the message, I thought, "Wow! I'm glad that didn't
happen on MY watch!" Then the negative messages started pouring in.
Let's lighten up, here. Everyone, myself most of all, has done
something foolish in hindsight. But at the time, you [I] thought,
"I'm in control. This is OK." Who hasn't taken a risk for the sheer
thrill of it all? Isn't that what theme park rides are all about?
Sure, you shouldn't look always for what could go wrong. But you can
and should minimize the risk. The prime rule of solo hiking [heck, of
ANY hiking or camping trip] is to let someone know your itinerary-
where you expect to be at what time. Then, if something untoward does
happen, you need only patience. You'll be missed, and if you abide by
the other common-sense rules ["hug a tree", e.g.]; you'll be found.
We seem to be expecting a risk-free society these days. 'Taint so.
And if we all really thought about all the liabilities, NONE of us
would be in Scouts. There is no guarantee that unplanned events won't
occur. But we can minimize the risk, and take precautions appropriate
to the probability. [For example, it is well advertised that in
Shenandoah National Park, if you simply walk downhill, you'll come to
civilization, a house or a road or some such, within 45 minutes.
Theoretically, you could therefore throw away your compass, and analog
watch, and enjoy the trail itself.. But I'd still let someone know
where I was going and when I expect to be back.]
Let's try for a balance between personal freedom and appropriate
social risk, shall we? Just a humble opinion. And I have more to be
humble about than most..
Manuel Pablo, Springfield, VA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City