UPDATE: Lots of questions, so I decided to write up a caption to explain some very important things. First: yes, I stayed away. Ever since I decided I wanted to go outside more during quarantine and explore Florida more, I researched what to do if I see an alligator. First, YOU DO NOT RUN IN A ZIGZAG. YOU JUST GTFO. A zigzag just delays you. If you get bitten, then you bop them on the most sensitive part of their body, their snout, before they turn. Alligators rip their meat off their food with their powerful jaws and by rolling over, but they will release you if you hit them. If you stay away from their babies, then the mamas will be fine. Once you leave their nesting area they stop chasing.
If you see a panther, you’re supposed to make yourself bigger. There is a LOT I have to know to protect myself and not become a burden to other hikers or rangers who need to rescue me. I am not an expert. But I learn, I follow wildlife and outdoorsy accounts, I ask friends who work with animals (they rock!), and take every effort to come home alive.
I got lost in November 2018 on a mountain in Virginia because I didn’t prepare, the FIRST rule of Leave No Trace. I was wet, night was falling, and I lost the trail when I crossed the water. I was on the trail on the other side, but when I tried to return I somehow crossed the river incorrectly. It was terrifying and a humbling lesson. Do NOT go outside without proper preparation. Nature is fun but it is dangerous. I don’t want to lecture but I do want others to not be hasty like I was. I go into nature to relax and escape, but that need can’t supersede the need to be safe and plan ahead. I got lost despite being on the trail, just on the other side of the river. Once I crossed the river, I was just in a patch of trees. It was sheer will of not dying that I forced my wet body up the mountain, crawling because of the incline, and finally found the 2 ft-wide trail. All that to say, I learned my lesson: be prepared when you go outside.
Follow @leavenotracecenter to learn more about how to go outside safely, and ALWAYS DO YOUR RESEARCH! Safe travels, my loves! ☀️ 🥾