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  1. #1
    Registered User Grandscale's Avatar
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    Default Biggest Fear On The Trail

    What's your biggest fear on the trail? Twisting an ankle, bears, snakes, ticks, hypothermia, etc...

    Mine are spraining an ankle (especially living and hiking in PA), and tick born illnesses (especially living and hiking in PA).

  2. #2
    Registered User Ktaadn's Avatar
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    Blisters. I have had a handful of hikes ruined by them. If I had been chased by a bear or bitten by a snake, those fears might be more real for me, but they just aren't right now. I'm more concerned about mentally ill humans than any of the natural threats. Again though, blisters are the bigger fear for me.

  3. #3
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    The possibility of stepping in a rocky hole and breaking a leg/wrenching a knee really started to bother me in my section hike on the Tuscarora Trail this year.
    76 HawkMtn w/Rangers
    13 HF>CramptonsG
    14 LHHT
    15 Girard/Quebec/LostTurkey/Saylor/Tuscarora/BlackForest
    16 Kennerdell/Cranberry-Otter/DollyS/WRim-NCT
    17 BearR
    18-19 AT NOBO 1540.5

  4. #4
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Falling is my fear because I often hike alone .

    Becoming incapacitated due to injury or illness (which has happened ), ie. kidney stone episode is number one.

    Dehydration -- loss of electrolytes during hot days causing confusion , dizziness, and general lethargy is a close #2
    Also has occurred once me .
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  5. #5
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    I don't know what it's like to be alone with myself for a long time. I'm invigorated by the thought, but I wonder …
    I'm thruhiking the Bruce Trail here in Ontario, inviting friends to join me for day(s), and flopping with friends and family various times along the way. I'll be taking about five days doing a semi-circle around home mid-hike and will be slack-packing that part thanks to my wonderful supportive wife of 43 years, so that will blunt my fear.
    I'm thinking / hoping that the other gains from this bucket-list venture will temper my trepidation of relative solitude.


    Bruce Traillium

  6. #6
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Hands down, ticks and Lyme disease. Even given being able to mitigate the risk somewhat using permethrin treated clothing and DEET, contracting a disease that often lasts for years and can be very debilitating freaks me out a bit. I figure that if I fall or get ill, and unless I die from it, I will be found and recover pretty much fully. Same goes for most common ailments like Giardia and Noro, etc. - I'll live to hike again. Bears, moose, hypothermia I have much more control over. I've heard horror stories regarding Lyme. Some 50% of people who get it don't even recall getting bit by a tick. And some don't respond to the antibiotic treatments. I HATE TICKS!
    I was self employed once, but it proved too stressful. My boss was a jerk and my employee was a slacker - I didn't know whether to quit or fire myself.

  7. #7
    Skywalker jdavis7590's Avatar
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    Scooting along with my earbuds in a stepping on a rattler.
    “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

    Mark Twain

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Hands down, ticks and Lyme disease. Even given being able to mitigate the risk somewhat using permethrin treated clothing and DEET, contracting a disease that often lasts for years and can be very debilitating freaks me out a bit. I figure that if I fall or get ill, and unless I die from it, I will be found and recover pretty much fully. Same goes for most common ailments like Giardia and Noro, etc. - I'll live to hike again. Bears, moose, hypothermia I have much more control over. I've heard horror stories regarding Lyme. Some 50% of people who get it don't even recall getting bit by a tick. And some don't respond to the antibiotic treatments. I HATE TICKS!
    X2 on this. By far my biggest concern.

  9. #9

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    Ticks. Period.

  10. #10
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    Cold and ticks. I know cold is easily mitigated but I'm cold sitting in a warm dry house with the thermostat set to 75, so carrying enough clothing to keep me warm gets heavy. Ticks for all the reasons described above.

  11. #11
    Registered User 1234's Avatar
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    No sleep, I just do not sleep for days, then I wipe out. Long nights of not sleeping are my biggest fear. I also agree with the ticks fear, my close 2nd

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdavis7590 View Post
    Scooting along with my earbuds in a stepping on a rattler.


    Rattlesnakes always sober me up fast. I get out of my usual hiking hippie bubble and exhibit a sort of Dick Cheney frown---not good and not fun. This friend above caught me coming down the Big Fat Gap trail in a terrible heatwave on a backpacking trip and I stopped to clip a briar out of my face with my pruners and heard a cicada-like buzz.

    "Hmm . . . ." I said and wondered about the buzz. Looked down at my feet on the trail and ZAPPO! There he is. I saw two on the same day.

  13. #13
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    In order: yellow jackets, ticks, running out of toilet paper.

  14. #14
    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Unhappy Since you asked

    A leg injury that would take so long to heal that I, presently at age 61, would not be able to finish The Trail. I've already had one torn MCL that cost me half a year in hiking, and I know there are even worse injuries that could take me off back-packing for a longer time. I'm thus SUPER sensitive to knee & joint pains, and never take risks that might result in a long-term damage.

  15. #15
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    GOD...always, everywhere.

  16. #16
    Registered User Elder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ktaadn View Post
    Blisters. I have had a handful of hikes ruined by them. If I had been chased by a bear or bitten by a snake, those fears might be more real for me, but they just aren't right now. I'm more concerned about mentally ill humans than any of the natural threats. Again though, blisters are the bigger fear for me.
    Try Wrightsocks. Guaranteed blister free, And they actually work. REI's best sellers and the best trail stores have them too.
    www.wrightsocks.com
    "You don't have to think fast if you move slow" Red Green

  17. #17
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    Ants. I hate them.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    GOD...always, everywhere.
    I like it. I "fear" (healthy respect) Him as well.

    My biggest general trail "fear" is having a foot issue far from any bail out point.

    My biggest specific "fear" was trying to climb the North Slide on North Tripyrimad in the fog. I will never climb that mess when it is damp out again. About 3/4's the way up, I realized I could not go any further. I could not go down for fear of acceleration due to gravity. I was using the skin on my legs for traction. After resting and thinking for about 20 minutes, I decided to make a lateral dive into the stunted growth trees adjacent to the slide. I knew if I did not get a good grip, I would be in for a long bumpy ride. However, it was my only option. Obviously I survived.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

  19. #19
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    Ticks and bears. Though I'm getting better about bears.

  20. #20
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Two "fears":

    1) Challenging Stream Fords. I have had balance issues for many years due to multiple health problems and events. Also, I never learned to swim because I almost drowned as a young kid so being in water became a phobia. Combine these and I have a hard time fording streams that have much water in them--especially rapidly running water. The solution, on the AT especially in Maine, was to find sturdy logs I could "shimmy" across. It worked, but I'm glad no one got video of it because I might wind up on YouTube. I'm sure it looks ridiculous.

    2) Lyme Disease. I've had lyme disease symptoms twice, and undoubtedly have it in me. I try to do the right things so I don't get hit again.

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