092: Am I Going to Die?

Show Notes: Episode 092

Today on the First 40 Miles, don’t die!  If you’re nervous about getting out on the trail, we’ll share the top 5 ways people die and how to avoid them…mostly.  Then we’ll share a water-proof, wind-proof, lightning-proof way to make music on the trail.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a simple trick that makes using the bathroom just a little bit easier.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom from our good friend on the trail, Susan Polis Schutz.


  • Am I Going to Die?
  • What really happens when hikers die?
  • What I found in Google News
  • Hiker body found…
  • After reading these articles for a while, patterns started to emerge
  • Often, even in that short little article it’s hinted at or revealed that the hiker wasn’t just walking down the trail, he/she was doing a high risk activity
  • http://hubpages.com/sports/Whats-Killing-Americas-Hikers

Top 5 Ways to Die on the Trail



  • Going out without studying the risks
  • Stupidity means that you’re participating activities outside of your risk management plan:
  • Rock climbing without harnesses or protective gear
  • Storing food inside your tent in bear country
  • Sometimes alcohol plays a part in stupid behavior
  • Story of our decision to avoid a slippery trail with steep drop off when planning a family backpacking trip

Freak Accident

  • Sometimes, even with the best risk management plan, mother nature has a way of wreaking havoc
  • Despite all your best efforts, freak accidents do happen on backpacking trips
  • Falling, avalanche, surprise + unprovoked bear attack, rock slide, taking one step backward during a group photo on the edge of a cliff…


  • Suicide hotline 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and is often the result of mental health conditions that effect people when they are most vulnerable.
  • Suicide Prevention
  • If you’re seriously struggling with mental health issues or even having thoughts of harming yourself, campfire time might be an appropriate time to share some of your struggle and get some support.
  • Homicide…same rate on larger heavily trafficked trails as in real life.  Fairly rare…

Medical Emergency…Or, it was just your time to go…

  • Heart attack, stroke, sometimes they hit while you’re on the trail
  • Emergency response time is much slower on the trail…can’t count on 2 min response time.

Mountain Hiking chance of dying: 1 in 15,700


SUMMIT Gear Review: Outdoor Ukulele: Soprano


  • Injection molded from translucent composite polycarbonate
  • Glass fiber strands give the instrument a natural grain structure and greatly increase strength
  • Made in Bend, Oregon USA.
  • 100% Fluorocarbon strings have superior knot strength and abrasion resistance,


  • Has the option for a strap button on the end of the uke
  • Waterproof, weatherproof
  • Great sound
  • Quieter than wood ukuleles


  • Length: 21 in
  • Width: 6 1/2 in
  • Height: 2 1/4 in
  • Weight: 18 oz (.51 kg)


  • Outdoor Ukuleles have high impact and scratch resistance, withstand extreme temperatures, are waterproof, and have brilliant acoustics.
  • Low Temperature: -40° F (-40° C)
  • High Temperature: 250° F (120° C)


  • $95
  • Also can be purchased with a button for holding a strap $5
  • Also they sell a strap for your ukulele, and other accessories


  • We take it on all our adventures
  • Really scratch resistant
  • Matte finish that matches the feel of nature
  • Comes with a little card that has chords on it. Great little cheat sheet that can fit in your pack.

Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Toilet Paper Dispenser

Before I figured this hack out, I would pull the entire roll out of my quart Ziploc bag and awkwardly unwind the toilet paper—then, I discovered that I could just pull out the cardboard tube from the center of the TP and pull the toilet paper from the center instead of the outside, so you don’t have to remove it from your quart Ziploc bag.

Trail Wisdom

“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.”

― Susan Polis Schutz