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July 15. 2014 9:38PM

Into the woods: With knowledge and tools

The stories, always sad, usually are predictable. Sunday’s was not. That day, Brian Delaney, of Scarborough, Maine, a well-known climber with decades of experience, fell to his death in Echo Lake State Park in Conway. Delaney was climbing the famous, 700-foot Cathedral Ledge, which overlooks Echo Lake.

The next day, a man drowned in Lake Winnipesaukee at Ellacoya State Park in Gilford. On Saturday, New Hampshire Fish and Game officers rescued three parties of hikers, one on Little Haystack Mountain, one on nearby Mt. Lafayette, and another on Mt. Washington. All were from out of state.

These events are an unfortunate reminder that even the most experienced hikers, climbers and swimmers can get lost, injured or even killed. There is a good reason for that: Nature is not an amusement park. It is a dangerous place, which is why we chopped it down and built cities. To counter some of that danger, there are the preparation basics: bring water, food, extra clothing (preferably not cotton), a flashlight, a compass, a first aid kit, a hat, bug spray, sunscreen, matches and tinder, a pocketknife, and the proper footwear. Then there is the extra preparation. If you are a frequent visitor to the outdoors, consider taking CPR and basic outdoor survival classes. Or at least buy a Boy Scout Handbook and first aid merit badge book. They could save your life.

There is no way to be 100 percent safe in the woods or on the water. Terrible accidents can happen to anyone. But preparing properly can make the difference between walking out and being carried out. Just remember, we dominated nature with knowledge and tools. Don’t go back without them.


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