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Hiking

Watch out for falling trees!

Yesterday I took the dogs for a hike up at the Happy Jack Recreation Area in Wyoming.  It was just me and the dogs.  I saw just one mountain biker in three hours.  The trails were dry and the wildflowers were popping.

Another wildflower season has begun in Wyoming

The wind, however, was blowing something fierce, and snapped trees littered the forest floor.

Although the odds of getting hit by a falling tree must be low, even during a strong wind event, it does happen.

Every once in a while I read a news report about someone getting injured or killed out in the forest by a falling tree.

I was surprised by how many trees had fallen directly on or right next to the trail.  Many were dead trees, but some had still been green and healthy before high winds snapped them.

This tree was alive before the wind sent it crashing down right next to the trail

As the dogs and I hiked, the trees creaked and groaned and I watched them leerily, ready at any minute for one to crack and try to take me or the dogs out.

My dog Grizzly inspects the carnage of downed trees

I think it behooves hikers to be cognizant of the possibility that a tree could suddenly snap and fall on them.

While it seems ludicrous that you could get hit by a falling tree, just think about how many people get struck by lightning every year.

It’s another one of those things that will “never happen to me.”

Trees weigh many thousands of pounds, and when they suddenly snap and fall that much weight gains speed very quickly making it difficult to get out of the way if you happen to be in its path.  You may even get snagged by a large limb and then it’s “game over.”

Another fairly big tree that recently fell on the trail

Freak tragedies happen in the blink of an eye, so keep your heads up out there.  I think I may even stay out of the woods the next time the wind’s blowing hard.

Nature is powerful and shouldn’t ever be taken lightly.

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