There is a term that I have heard other backpackers use which is, “Packing Our Fears.” I am not sure there is an exact definition to this statement. To me it infers that people have a fear of certain things in the wild because they don’t have good knowledge of what they fear. Perhaps it means we fear things that, in reality, have a very small chance of hurting us or even killing us. But the fear is there.
When people ask me about the dangers of sleeping in the desert, such as rattlesnakes or scorpions, I dismiss them as silly. Same goes for black bears or mountain lions. Today I realized that this is unfair and perhaps I am judgmental. The proper approach would to share as much knowledge about these things as I can and communicate why they should be of less concern. I should also reassure others that these fears are normal.
Today I decided not to take a trip because of a fear.
I am not sure if it is a real concern or not. I am in central Florida and had the opportunity to do a quick overnight backpacking trip. So as I do, I did a quick Internet search to find something suitable. First thing was a weather check. 50% chance of thunderstorms. Not something to worry about. Actually with the humidity and temperatures in the 90’s a thunder storm would be pleasant. I like walking in the rain when it cools things down.
So looking online for a place to hike I saw a reference to alligators. Hmm… primordial creatures. Like cockroaches they have survived for millions of years, only big – many 6 feet or longer – some over 10 feet long. And they can kill people. Further research told me that in central Florida, if there is water, there are alligators in the water. Also they are diurnal and nocturnal and mostly hunt at night. There are over a million alligators in Florida with an estimated population of 1 alligator per every 10-15 people. In the lower 48 states, in the areas where there are bears, the bears are counted in maybe the hundreds. At this point I wasn’t sure if a hike where no one really knew where I would be going was a good idea. Also, at this point in time, I don’t know if alligators are something that would be a serious threat to a solo hiker. So I cancelled the idea and the trip.
Was I packing my fear? I don’t know. I shall research more.
By the way, I did take a walk in the rain near my hotel when I went to dinner. The rain was pleasant.