Years ago, both my father and the Boy Scouts taught me the most vital lesson. Have a plan A and a plan B. This is so that you are not only able to be prepared, but be visible and predictable to others so that they know when to start worrying. The other day I watched a movie 127 Hours that not only hit this point, but focused on this concept to the extent that there would not be a story to tell if these plans were put into place. In case you are wondering, the main character (Aron Ralston) reflects on who knows where he is and realizes that he did not tell anyone.
How does this work? Very simple, your plan A should be a written agenda of who, what, when, where, and what rule we all learned when writing in school. Think about who is going, where you are going, how long, check points (when), as well as guidelines for others to follow in case you are not heard from. This is not anything more than a guideline so diving into each section is not important as I am sure almost everyone can fulfill. The one item that is typically overlooked is what to do with the plan beyond hitting these points.
First step, your plan A should be nothing more than your regular planning session. Not a lot of people are aware that the forest service has a ton of amazing resources. They even have a “build your trip” tool you can use: https://www.recreation.gov/myTrips.do?tti=Trips
The plan B should be your contingency plan. For example, when I was going to Silverton, my plan B included alternate camping areas in case we moved locations, potential areas we would visit if something changed, and potential extended timelines in case something would cause a delay. This allowed me to be able to communicate with the other people participating as well as to let my emergency contact people know the details in case I was needed or they were needed.
What to do with your plans? Other than develop and stick to them, I almost always keep a written summary in my emergency pack, give a written summary to my emergency contacts, and include anything of value such as life impacting medical info such as insurance, blood type, medications needed, and allergies.
I have attached an example of a plan that I used for the Silverton trip. If you think this is overkill, please rethink it. I personally have seen the impact this would have made if the information was available.
In my book, the plan is something that I take very seriously and stay consistent with. Everyone who acts as my emergency contact expect this and know exactly when to take action. Please create a habit that screams something is wrong if you are not able to communicate this. On a side note, as you go to a lot of the resources I share, you will see the same theme of planning.
I am not just an adventurer, but I am a project enthusiast. I look for projects and overall love the hunt for an adventure. My nickname is Bubba who loves fly fishing, photography, building things, and is open to finding an adventure anywhere.