Advice From The Pros



Teens on Trail hike safe




Trail Tips

DIANE BOYD HAS WORKED THE front desk at the Verlot Service Center on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest for 21 years. Her tips?

Clothing choice is very important! Cotton kills. Wear layers and have a jacket.

Cell phones are not likely to save you, there is no coverage in most areas and the batteries die.

Drive carefully to your hike. It is common to go off the road shoulder, slide on ice, overcorrect and roll the vehicle.

Pay attention to directions. Many teens arrive at Mt. Pilchuck instead of the easier Boardman Hike and decide to hike it without the proper gear and not expecting snow on the trail.

Please don’t hike under the influence of drugs/alcohol. It may seem fun to start your hike slightly altered, but when the high wears off, you may become disoriented or realize the hike you chose is way beyond your hiking abilities.

SERGEANT DANNY WIKSTROM IS in charge of Search and Rescue for the Snohomish Coounty Sheriff’s Office for about 14+ years. His unit responds to around 115 SAR calls per year. The common mistakes he sees?

  • Not having the 10 essentials or not knowing how to use them.
  • Starting out late in the day and getting caught out in the dark.
  • Not being prepared for Rain/Cold/Ice/Snow.
  • Not knowing the route and/or getting off the trail and becoming lost.
  • When lost, not stopping, becoming even more turned around and wandering into steep, dangerous terrain (cliffs) and falling.

FEAR: It’s normal to feel fear when lost. I’ve been lost and it terrified me even though I am trained, experienced and was well equipped. Uncontrolled fear results in panic, panic results in very poor decision making. Use the STOP procedure. I did and it worked!

STOP: Take slow deep breaths to calm yourself. Make yourself take slow deep breaths in through your nose, hold it then back out your mouth (repeat). This will help you calm down. It works. I do it.

THINK: Think first. Don’t do anything without thinking it through.

OBSERVE: Look around. What are your options?

PLAN: Carefully make a plan taking into account that your immediate priorities will likely be taking care of your medical needs, shelter & fire, signaling and communicating as well as water then food.


  • You can live 3 minutes without air
  • You can live 3 days without water
  • You can live 3 weeks without food
  • 3 seconds +/- of panic can result in death so STOP and use deep breathing to calm yourself.