I did lot of hiking this last winter in preparation for my Boy Scout troop’s 20-mile hike that we completed about three weeks ago. Some of the risks while hiking in Arizona, and magnified if you’re alone, include:
- bear attacks
- rabid animal attacks
- mountain lion attacks
- rattlesnake bites
- gila monster bites
- scorpion stings
- injuries from a fall
- getting hopelessly lost
Taking into account where I hike and the type of hiking I do, my biggest concern this time of year is attack by a swarm of Africanized honey bees. Even if you”re not allergic to bee stings, they can kill you if you get enough stings.
A favorite hike of mine is Pinnacle Peak trail, which is only a 15-minute walk from my front door. A hiker got stung 50 times there a few days ago. It takes many hundreds of stings to kill an adult, probably in the range of 100 stings per 10 lb of body weight.
If I’m attacked by a swarm, my plan is to run as fast as I can for at least a quarter mile before stopping. I’m dropping anything that could slow me down. If I can duck a car or building before my quarter-mile is up, I’ll do it.
If you kill bees by swatting them, it releases chemicals that further inflame the swarm. I doubt I’d have the self-control to not slap bees stinging me.
PS: I’ve lived in Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida, but don’t recall them having this problem.