Earthquakes, Natural Disasters and Thoughts on Hiking Home

The recent earthquake in California got me thinking of a couple of things and as with any natural disaster or major emergency it never hurts to take a look and asses your level of preparedness. Ridgecrest CA is close to home for a couple of reasons, I used to travel up there all the time for work and we pass through there on our way to the Sierras. So I am familiar with the area and just how long it takes me to get there from my house here in San Diego County.

So what got me thinking is for us SoCal types what is our mobility plan should we have a regional disaster, in short what is my plan for getting home. Well when people ask me about survival and prepping (I think they are all great things with many nuances) I will always say this, if you are ready to go camping you are ready for most emergencies we might have down here. Since SoCal is so commuter heavy nearly all of us drive our cars to work so step one daypack.

I go hiking after work all the time so I always keep my daypack with me in case I should get a wild hair.  And if you have been around me long enough you will have heard me rant about how every day hike is a potential overnighter so you choose your level of comfort. That being said I have all of my gear stashed in my car and am ready to hike. Now being ready to hike can mean a few more things than just having gear. If there is a scenario where I can’t drive home I need to take into consideration the fact that I’m not the only one, alternate routes, physical mental wellbeing, and over all safety.

I have a route (actually a couple) from where I work to home that avoids major roads that might be busy, stays away from infrastructure like power lines and overpasses and keeps me away from large groups of people. See it’s like my normal hikes here anyway, haha. San Diego in particular has a bunch of urban wildland interface and a lot of that is trails so it can be used to your advantage when moving from point A to point B. I planned for that and know that I have a sixteen mile nature walk ahead of me, so like I said I need to be prepared.

This is going to be a long walk and I plan on taking longer than my usual time doing that kind of a hike so it can very well be an overnighter. The only major reason I have a hike home plan by the way is for my dog, if I’m talking to my wife and they are safe at home I’m staying put. So that leads me to scenario B, this one has us camping at work, so look around, you probably don’t see emergency supplies do you… There might be a vending machine or two but you’re breaking glass if the power is out and that might make for an awkward Monday if it’s just a 48 hour emergency, so be ready to camp. A lot of my coworkers live 50 miles from here (each way) they would definitely want to have a different get home plan since that’s a couple day walk haha (but it’s doable). For those guys and gals especially the ones that carpool a bag at work wouldn’t be a bad idea and a plan to have someone feed their doggo if they can’t leave.  And even if they can leave they might not want to, waiting it out in a safe area is always the preferred plan.

Camping and exploring has prepared many of us for this kind of thing, want to experience post apocalypse grid lock traffic drive from Point Lobos to Carmel at five pm in June. Cash is king nothing will remind you to have cash on you more than wanting ice cold soda somewhere that doesn’t take cards. Alternate communication plans and plans for if you don’t have your phone that’s an every trip occurrence especially when getting picked up by someone else. None of us would step on the trail with our gear still in its original packaging so why do we do this with our emergency preparedness?

“We don’t rise to the occasion we fall to our training” I personally believe an active outdoor lifestyle has prepared us for more than just enjoying the outdoors. Don’t look at being prepared as a doom and gloom type thing look at it as planning a fun trip, and keep that mentality for those around you especially your kids. Leaving on a camping trip is a lot less scary than evacuating for a disaster. My take on this, break out your gear use it know it’s limitations have fun camping and hiking. After all if you don’t train with your gear, have a plan, and know your limitations, you are preparing for failure.  

If you have anything to add we always love hearing from our friends so come by the shop, if you ever have a question about your pack or plan reach out and we would be happy to make an appointment at the shop to hear about your plan and shake down your pack (I also look forward to learning from you as well).           

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