Friday, January 29, 2016

Our Biggest Mistake While Hiking Mt St Helens

This blog is sponsored by VITCHELO Outdoor Gear

If you’ve been following along with our blog, you’ll know how much we not only love random adventures and hiking, but I also have a huge love for Mt St Helens.

Mt St Helens holds a special place in my heart. It’s not only a fascinating mountain due to its historic and unusual eruption in 1980, but it’s also a place where we learned some valuable survival skills … the hard way.

I personally like being over-prepared for things, especially when it comes to being in the outdoors, when we’re hours away from help.

While prepping for our Mt St Helens hike, I went through the suggested packing list given to us by the Mt St Helens park rangers. We made sure to pack everything we needed for this 8 hour difficult hike.

Why do you need a flashlight for a day hike?

Hiking day - We were in the parking lot at 8 am getting ready for our epic day hike up a dormant volcano. At last minute, I decided my backpack was too heavy for the hike, so I started pulling things out of my bag.

My thought process that morning was, “why do I need a flashlight for a day hike?” So I pulled my flashlight out of my backpack, and so did my hiking buddy. This helped lighted our backpack a bit, and we began our hike.

Little did we know, we started the hike too late, and took too long making our way to the top of the crater. We ended up losing sunlight about an hour into our descent down the mountain.

What a scary experience this was, hiking down a difficult trail in the dark!

It never occurred to me that we would need to have a flashlight with us during a day hike in case we took too long on the trail and started losing sunlight. The sun was suppose to set around 8 pm that night, but the trail we were following wrapped around the backside of the mountain, and we begain losing sunlight around 5 pm that night, which left us in the dark for most of our descent.

At one point during our descent, it hit me that we might need to sleep on the mountain overnight, as we were having such a hard time following the trail in the dark. This was such a scary through; we didn’t prepare any overnight survival stuff, as we figured we would make it back to our car before nightfall.

Thankfully, there was another family up the mountain that was just as ill-prepared as we were. They were at the top of the crater with no water left, but had flashlights. We had extra water, but no flashlights. We opted to become best friends and hike down the mountain together.

With 7 people and 2 very faint flashlights, we made it down the mountain just before midnight. It was a slow trek down the mountain because we couldn’t see where we were walking for most of our descent. Thankfully no one fell and seriously injured themselves while descending through the boulder field.

My biggest hiking lesson from that day: I’ll never set out on a day hike without a flashlight and overnight survival gear again. You really never know when you’re going to need it.


Suggested hiking gear:

An LED Headlamp is really the way to go. I’ve now done several hikes in the dark, and you need a bright headlamp in order to help you see where you are going. A VITCHELO headlamp will allow you to walk along the trail without having to carry a flashlight in your hand, especially if you’re descending over logs, crossing creeks or boulders.

Smart people are choosing VITCHELO products, and for good reason. Learn more about their products here.

Happy Hiking and stay safe!

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