Watch out!

Every environment has its own unique dangers, risks… challenges.

My mom was afraid to spend time in the desert because of the scorpions, snakes and spiders… even after decades of living there, she was reluctant to walk far from the pavement.  She was perfectly comfortable, however, traipsing through the Pennsylvania forests where she grew up, …. a place where I find myself distracted by the possibility of encountering a bear or cougar!

I know what to watch out for in the desert… and what to avoid.  Don’t stick your hands under rocks, watch where you put your feet, carry more water than you think you will need and protect against sunburn and the possibility of West Nile Virus from mosquito bites….

When we travel, I want to know what the most serious threats to our safety are before we head out on a trail.  It is often difficult to even know what questions to ask.  What plants are poisonous, what snakes or spiders or animals are most fearsome?  Are there ways to minimize the risks? Are there some not worth taking?

Quicksand, sink holes, prairie dog dens, poison ivy?  Mosquitoes, leeches, icy cold water, sharp coral, gators…. moose?

“Watch out for chiggers and ticks,” we were cautioned when we were spending time in Oklahoma during the summer.  We wanted to head across the field in search of a cache…. looked harmless enough.  I felt reluctant to venture into a new place and realized that it was mere ignorance holding me back.  I just needed to know the real danger, and all of the details.  Use DEET, wear long pants and sleeves and carry a lint roller were the most useful pieces of advice… informative and empowering.

What advice would you offer someone unfamiliar with the risks in your area??  How do you get this information when you are in new locations?

 

Forearmed with reliable information, it will be easier to say… A new place to explore?……. Sure, let’s go!

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