What’s Wrong With This Image?

9 06 2010

Take a look at this photo:

There I am, nearly six years ago (yikes), at the end of the Door Trail at Badlands National Park in South Dakota.  There are a couple of very significant things about this photo.

  1. This was my very first solo hike everIt was day five of my Road Trip.  The first four days I was concentrated on getting west as fast as possible (with a two-night stop in Chicago to visit a friend), and on the fifth day, I finally arrived, early afternoon, at my first National Park.  I was chomping at the bit to get out on the trail, since hiking was the focus of my trip.  I was also scared about my first solo hike, but comforted by the fact that I had picked an easy intro hike, and the fact that the beginning of the Door Trail (which is less than a mile out-and-back, the first bit of which is handicap-accessible) was crowded with people in sundresses and little children.  Yes, I looked at them and thought, if they are doing it, then I certainly can.  But that’s all right.
  2. I was doing this all wrong.  Seriously.  Can you pick out what I was doing wrong in this photo?  You’d think that, since I had been hiking before, and since I had done all this research, I would know what I was doing.  But nooooo.  Of course, on this hike, it was really fine, since it was so low-key.  Mostly flat, pretty well populated (at least the first half), short.  But I look at this photo and remember the mistakes I made.  Can you see them?  (Hint: one of them you can’t see, but you might be able to guess.)

On Friday, we’ll talk about the things I did wrong on that hike, and on the one that happened right after, that make me cringe at my own naiveté (or, in some cases, overconfidence or laziness).  Make your guesses in the comments!

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.



7 responses

9 06 2010

Hmm, no hat? sneakers (or are those sandals?) instead of hiking boots? No sunscreen? Where’s your walking stick? Other excessories (snack, cell phone, etc?)

9 06 2010
Joshua Lehrer

Dark colored clothing is a no-no.

9 06 2010

Is that a bottle of water in your hand? If not, then where is your water. That could possibly be a cotton shirt you are wearing which isn’t the greatest for hiking in.

10 06 2010

Door Trail is less than a mile, right? I’m assuming is was summertime, and the Badlands are dry and hot in the summer. If I’d dressed you for a solo hike (even for just a couple miles), yes, you’d have been wearing a head cover, light-colored clothing (possibly long sleeves and pants, esp. if that’s snake country), trail shoes, and sunscreen (you don’t appear burned). A lot of people hike in sport sandals, but I really don’t recommend it (for a long list of reasons). That’s enough water (if it’s water), if you started well hydrated, but my recommendation is to carry a minimum 2L no matter what, esp. for a hot uphill hike. No belt or pack, so I’m guessing you weren’t carrying a small first aid/emergency kit, whistle, GPS/compass, or an energy bar. Did you explore off-trail? Tsk. I’ll be very interested to see the answers!

10 06 2010
Mary P

I’m with Deborah. I was thinking that you should have a pack with a first aid kit. I’d also think a hat especially with it so dry and hot.

10 06 2010

I’d like to agree with the above comments and add nothing.

11 06 2010
The Answer, As Always, I’m An Idiot « Her Side of the Mountain

[…] Wednesday, I posted this photo, of me at the end of my very first solo hike, on the teeny, easy little Door Trail at Badlands […]

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