Hiking notes

Things on which you most easily can slip, roll or stumble

This is an obviously approximate, but realistic , ranking.  Of course, losing your balance will depend a lot on steepness, that here is not considered ! This list has a semi-serious style, so take it seriously, enjoying yourself.

Slippery things

  1. A film of frozen water

It happens to find it, even if you are not a snow-and-ice hiker. Clear nights, from autumn to spring, some water drip or flow, and the game is over. If the frozen stretch part is short, no problem; if long… choose a different way. If that is not possible, you may be in trouble !

  1. Wet wood

A well-deserved second place. But only since an unbeatable competitor is at the first. Knowing it (wet wood), you will avoid it, and forget to underestimate it. If you ever tried to walk on soap, for example when you take a shower, you may have an idea.

  1. Wet stone slabs

These can put you into considerable trouble, especially when you are not thinking about them. Always hope to receive a preliminary warning, with a negligible  slip, and then you will pay better attention. When slabs are coated with lichens or algae, even almost invisible, the situation gets worse.

  1. Mud

Well, tell the truth, you expected mud at a higher rank. Mud is a bit like wet leaves: the deeper it is, the less you slip, since you simply sink into it. Then it will depend on how wet it is and, above all, where it lays on; little mud laying on a slab is extremely slippery. So, let’s say that it can have a variable ranking.

  1. Wet leaves

They are almost as slippery as wet wood. But they are not so solid, so you can manage them better. It will however depend where they lay on and how thick the mat is. If they are a lot, you will simply sink. If they are few, laying on wet wood or some nice stone slab… well, where there are leaves there are usually also trees to grab: use them.

  1. Dry leaves

A completely new feeling. You will not think about being slipping: they will take you down with them, with an evocative swish. But, at the end, you will feel betrayed and will look at them suspiciously.

  1. Wet grass

It is rather slippery, but you will hardly make long slips on it. So, at the end, nastier than amusing.  If it hides stones, pay attention !!!

  1. Cattle excrements

Also rather slippery. But, in general cattle do not execute along steep slopes, where also they have something else to think about. And, after all, you can easily avoid trampling on these things. When you do not avoid it, it means that you are distracted by many beautiful thoughts. That the reason why it is said that trampling on shits brings you luck. Dogs’ shit is even smaller, so brings even better luck.

Rolling things

  1. Pine cones

Incredible, you will think. But they rank first. The small dry cones of pine (not the ones of firs, that are soft and hardly roll), are such nice rollers, and if you walk on them along a slope, you will roll together.

  1. Fallen branches

Walking on dry small branches, you will happily roll down together. Not for nothing, big round branches were used in the past to roll heavy loads down mountain stone tracks. There should be a reason.

  1. Gravel

At the third place for its capacity to roll. But, considering how frequent it is, at least in certain environments, it could rank first. Coarse gravel does not roll well;  fine one, better. But it must be a thin layer, on a hard and smooth solid background, like a rock; then it can give you serious trouble. If gravel is a lot, more than rolling it tends to slide down; that can also be amusing, as perhaps you know if you use to plunk down screes. But, from an environmental point of view, this is a bad habit.

Things of which you can stumble

  1. Branches

Here they are again, winners again ! Stumbling on fallen branches is very easy. Forest ground is almost encumbered by fallen wood, that is not picked anymore. This is even more risky for the maniacs of short-cuts, where fallen wood is even more abundant. Top worst? To stumble with one foot on a branch on which you are stepping with the other foot.

  1. Lianas

Some plants can form loops, creeping on the ground. Maybe this is not a common situation, but it generates nice stumbles, often of the kind that you do not understand what is happening: try to continue, and stumble again.

  1. Hidden stones

Stones are often hidden below tall grass. Stumbling on them can be more or less easy. If you remember this point, you will be careful, and hardly stumble. If not, you will learn yourself; but, before you do, try not to fall.

  1. Holes

These have a more or less similar effect to hidden stones. Better, a hole is sometimes a gap between two hidden stones. They add the risk of  getting hurt when stepping into the hole, even before experimenting the effect of stumbling.

  1. Iron wires

They are in this position only since they are not everywhere, and you may foresee their presence. They mostly are in the vicinity of old fences, quarries and other human artifacts. But they are extremely dangerous, because they are rusty, sharp and sometimes also barbed.

  1. Tip of your trousers

This can sound as nonsense, but up to a point. It can happen, and may be one among the worst stumbles.