Call me wrong, but for years I've hoped I would die on the trail. One of my best backpacking buddies almost pulled it off. He got an aortic aneurysm on a backpacking trip we are on and died a few months later after multiple unsuccessful surgeries.

My father, a fit hiker in his mid-60s at the time, had a medical condition climbing out of the canyon in temperatures under 100°. He had been on the river for a few days and they climbed out of the canyon from Phantom Ranch beginning after breakfast, probably too late.

My sister and her two sons had no problem walking out. My father said go on ahead. After 4 hours on the top my sister finally went down the canyon to find my father in a version of heat exhaustion.

I have had versions of nature induced stress that have nearly knocked me out as well. I have had problems with heat, altitude, and other weather conditions that have nearly dropped me.

This hiker did not take on a very ambitious hike. That route is commonly walked by hundreds of people every year. I bet this hiker was in very good condition too.

It's a series of compounding mistakes that usually bring even the most prepared down. The thing you can control the best is your decision making.

Here's a great tip I heard repeated this morning: I bring the gear just to make sure I won't need it.

Like a shade umbrella. "Nah - weighs too much."