1952: Are You Ready for a Hike?

Well, we’re certainly in the thick of summer, as is apparent here in very steamy District of Columbia Metropolitan area. And I’m sure everyone trying to figure out what to do to keep cool yet get out of the house, to enjoy a bit of nature. As Evelyn Millis Duvall writes in Love and the Facts of Life (which can be taken to heart by courting fools as well as groups of singles and married folk, I’d say) “some of the most enjoyable dates are those spent at picnics, around barbeque fires, swimming, skating, singing, playing folk games, and other such informal outings.”

But such fun, informal outings aren’t without danger, as William A. Evans warns us in Everyday Safety. He’s a bit less cavalier than Ms. Duvall, and in addition to safety tips about swimming, boating, and building a fire, he provides these helpful hints on hiking through the woods.

Hiking through the fields and woods is great fun. To enjoy a good hike it is important that you be properly dressed for the occasion. Good heavy-soled shoes are the first thing needed if you plan to walk very far. Girls should wear low-heeled shoes; to have a good time one must be comfortable, and there is less danger of turning one’s ankle if low-heeled shoes are worn. Full-length trousers, slacks, or heavy stockings should be worn in order to protect the legs. The other clothing should be comfortably loose and not too heavy because the exercise keeps one warm. It is a good plan to wear a jacket or shirt with full-length sleeves in order to protect the arms.

One of the things which most frequently spoils the fun of being out in the woods or fields is infection from poison ivy, poison oak, sumac, or other kinds of weeds. Some persons seem to be immune from such poisoning while others are poisoned even by wild daisies, ragweeds, or smart weeds. There is also the danger of infection from scratches caused by briars, thorns, burrs, and splinters.

If that quote didn’t depress you enough, you might be interested in another from this book, on Carelessness. And if you’re thinking ahead to winter, here’s another from killjoy Evans.

On that note, I hope you are having a fun summer. But not too much fun! Be careful out there!