Please do not hike alone, for survival’s sake

Chris Hasenheyer, Senior Writer

Poopoo point. Alpental. Rattlesnake Lake. Mt. Si. Hyak. Snow Lake. Crystal. Mt. Baker. The list of incredible hiking and skiing hotspots goes on and on in our beautiful Northwest home. Yet, none of this is worth it if you don’t come back. Hiking and other similar outdoor activities are a staple of Northwest culture,.However, it is important to know how to hike and what to bring, as there are serious consequences when things go wrong.
“I’ve been doing search and rescue for several years, and the last couple months right before Christmas, there was a skier who went out by himself in the Commonwealth Basin and he is still up there. Had he been there with someone else, we might have found him or he might not have gotten lost,” biology teacher Chuck Cerveny said.
Many of Liberty’s students enjoy these types of outdoor activities as well.
“I started hiking back in 2010 and it’s been a progressive thing, I’ve done fifty milers on the PCT and in New Mexico,” junior Russell Schmidt said. “On backpacking trips, I generally bring a water filter, water bladder, overnighters, hammock, sleeping bag, a tarp, and cooking supplies” Schmidt said.
“It is always important to pack as if you are going to spend the night,” Cerveny said.
Many around Liberty are avid hikers and have had experiences with problems in the outdoors.
“[My Father] hiked his whole life and we have been going hiking since we were about four or five. My uncle Thomas McCoy, an avid hiker, died in 2014 at age 64 after he went hiking alone. His body was missing for months,” psychology teacher Kayla Phillips said. “Even though he had all the right gear, nothing helped him when things turned for the worse.”
Schmidt offered a similar response to Cerveny and Phillips
“I have thought about going alone on four smaller hikes, but I would never go alone on a big hike. I try to keep the worst in mind at all times; it can jump up on you, especially if you are hiking in the mountains,” Schmidt said.
When hiking, it is important to know the risks and plan accordingly, but it is also important to enjoy all that our area has to offer, and to not fear nature.