Behind the Photo: The Dangers of Hiking


Photography, Dylan Felty

Nowadays, people are so engaged in social media that it’s getting dangerous. We care too much about posting on ‘the Gram’ than we do about our own hiking safety. Do people not know how to be outside anymore? Are we too caught up in the latest posts to notice our own surroundings? We need to get off our phones and engage with the outdoors.


Some fun places to go hiking in Southern Illinois include Fern Cliffe, Giant City State Park, Inspiration Point, and Garden of the Gods. When hiking in these places, you have to make sure to pay attention to your surroundings and get off your phone.


When hiking, we are supposed to enjoy nature, animals, leaves, creeks, and waterfalls. In today’s society, we focus more on posting to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat. Sometimes snapping a picture of nature can lead to something much worse. Paying attention to your surroundings is crucial. 


On July 29, 2022, a 10 year old girl named Everly Thompson fell 100 feet at the Devil’s Smokestack at Garden of the Gods. She was going into fourth grade at North Daviess Elementary School in Elnora, Indiana. She was with her mom, dad, and brother when she fell. She suffered from multiple injuries and was flown to Carbondale Hospital where she later died. 


While we don’t know what caused her to fall, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and to get off your phone while hiking. When sightseeing, don’t try to go farther than the barrier if there is one. Don’t go outside the trail or railing. If you are only paying attention to your phone or other devices, you could get lost in the wilderness. Watch out for poison ivy and poison oak. Poisonous animals are everywhere, so watch out for copperhead snakes. Don’t go hiking after dark. Remember, park rangers aren’t everywhere at all the time. Go hiking with a friend!