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News > Commentary - A little planning goes a long way
Airmen visit Grand Canyon
Airman 1st Class Roman Weber, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs broadcaster, records footage of Grand Canyon and the Airmen while hiking. (Courtesy photo)
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Commentary - A little planning goes a long way

Posted 8/18/2011   Updated 8/18/2011 Email story   Print story


by 1st Lt. Benjamin Leiby
53d Electronic Warfare Group, Detachment 1

8/18/2011 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- We have all heard the stereotype that men do not like to stop for directions. Men always know where they are going or what is coming up ahead. When it comes to nature walks out in the wilderness, the stereotype sticks.

There I was, out in the country hills of northern New York, thinking that I would enjoy a nice hike. Being responsible, I took some friends with me. We climbed and climbed, and I thought I had a good idea of where I was and where I was going.

As the day started to wane, one of my friends piped up and asked if I knew where I was. Self-assured, I answered that the highway we were going to end our hike at was just over the next ridge. However, when we made it to that ridge, all we saw was yet another hill, filled with trees, and no highway in sight.

It was dusk, we had no idea where the highway was, no radios, no phones, no maps, and we had not told anyone where we were planning on going before we left.

Eventually, after four hours of hiking, we made it back to civilization, much later than we had expected. I realized, during those four hours of searching for our ending point, that my trip could have ended much worse. What if bad weather had come in? What if someone had tripped and twisted an ankle? If I had put more effort into planning, my friends and I could have fully enjoyed the nice trek through the mountains without dealing with the fright we gave ourselves when we realized we were off course.

I know now that planning can never be over-rated or taken too seriously. Especially with the desert heat here in Nevada, it is even more critical for you to plan before you head outside. Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan on coming back. Ensure that you take enough provisions, like food and water, to last the entire outing. Bring along a communication device, like a radio or cell phone, so you can contact someone in case of an emergency. Finally, always double check a map and the weather report before experiencing the great outdoors. This little effort in planning will make your experience more enjoyable and will help ensure that everyone comes back the same way they left.

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