yup, they happen. I had an unfortunate incident that arose from me going too fast downhill on a slippery loose rock trail that ended up in a trip to the ER after a 1/2 mile hike to the car. No one can predict when they will occur but the reality is that you should always be prepared and know what to do if and when they occur.
I will Always carry:
Medical kit (gauze, bandaids, sterile pads, ointment, small mirror, etc) – pre packaged or make your own
Headamp w/ batteries
These are my essentials along with my new found belief that solo hiking is not for me. I also have a pair of trekking poles that I use for downhills (the accident occurred during the one and only time I did not bring mine. My partner did have a pair of fold up poles that were used to get me down. He also was incredibly level headed and washed out my wounds as best as possible before bandaging it up. I owe a lot to him this day.)
Now here’s an important note: I have come across some ultra light hikers who in the name of saving weight are removing their med kits because “I never use it, why carry the weight?” Well that day I needed that little medical kit and it was worth those precious few ounces. 13 stitches and three weeks later I still bear the angry healing gash n my knee and above my eye. Without that kit, there would be nastier consequences. Your own well being is worth more than that extra bag of trail mix.
At the summit one hour before the accident:
A week later while healing (😦):
Two weeks later (knee brace removed while on summit of Mt Whitney):
And one more thing- there was a hiker that saw me sprawled out bleeding on the trail and casually walked around without saying a word- shame on him. If there is ever a person in need on a trail, I would never think twice about offering assistance. That man was a true coward.