The No-Dying Rule

It’s been a long time since I was here visiting this space, and the last time I left you, I had started hiking each weekend with my youngest son, introducing him to all my favourite trails.

Since then, we have continued to hike together each weekend and one of my routines at the beginning of each trek is to invoke the simple but critical No-Dying Rule.

That’s it. Don’t die.

However, it’s also generally understood to include no maiming of any kind.

Risks and dangers lurk on the trail and cell service can be spotty. In the event of an accident, help could be a long time in coming. It’s easier to just use caution – especially since one could argue that common sense had already been abandoned.

I learned about this rule many years ago from a long-time friend of my oldest son. I’m sure there is a story behind this rule, and I would love to know the background … but the mom in me thinks it would be better if I didn’t know.

At any rate, it quickly became one of my favourites and I now invoke it frequently.

This past weekend, Misha and I were exploring a new-to-me trail about 2 hours north of Toronto. With a name like “Standing Rock and Caves” we had high expectations, and we were not disappointed.

On our very first descent into a rock crevice, Misha made the observation that the No-Dying Rule was finally going to have some real meaning to our hike. The dangers were significant and not to be discounted … not to mention the slippery icy patches that just added to the OMG element.

While Misha navigated the trail with relative ease, my shorter and weaker legs became a serious handicap. I was often scrambling on hands and knees to maneuver over and around the rocks that defined the trail.

He waited patiently while I gingerly poked along trying to avoid the possibility of blowing out a knee, breaking an ankle, or – heaven forbid – falling and cracking my head open on a rock. These were not comforting thoughts.

Had my aging body finally knocked some sense into my young-at-heart spirit?!

Really?! We have to go through there?!

More than a few times my stomach clenched as I squeezed through tight spaces in the rock walls. This was literally the stuff of my nightmares.

And when we finally reached the relative safety of easy terrain at the end of this section of trail, there was only one thing for us to do – turn around and do it all over again in the opposite direction.

After all, that’s what we came here to do.

More importantly, no adventurers – young or old – were injured in the making of this story.

All photos were taken with shaking hands on my cell phone. The blurry photos can be attributed to the cold – or fear.

You decide.


  1. The No-Dying Rule makes total sense to me, Joanne. Slippery and icy is not a good thing. What you will do to spend quality time with Misha is heroic and evokes the OMG in me. Your photos are amazing, despite the shaking. I am not the only one to be very happy there was “No-Dying.”❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve made it this far in life so not dying on the trail is the least I could do. After all, I’d really hate for my death certificate to read ‘death by misadventure’ 😏

      This trail was epic and we will be returning here again … perhaps after the snow is gone!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m happy to know that there’s a ‘no-dying rule’ in effect. I’m glad you enjoyed the hike, even with a few dicey moments. The pictures are very nice.

    I hike (not very often) with our daughter. She is very patient, and we stick to medium length and difficulty trails. She is certified in wilderness first aid, and she always carries enough gear to handle most emergencies. She has had to use it, during one of our hikes, on an injured woman who we came across on the trail. I was impressed with her ability.


    • That is impressive! The closest I could ever come to providing help on the trail would be a mylar blanket to help keep them warm with some food and water. I really don’t want to ever be challenged with an emergency on the trail – mine or someone else’s!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • She had an inflatable pad that allowed us to get some insulation between the woman and the very cold ground (this was in February). She also had material to make a splint., and she knew how to make the splint, where to position it, wrap it, etc. She carries all of this stuff on a day hike! I used to pick on her for carrying such a heavy pack, but no longer. She does it for the exercise as well, but…

        We called 911, and a rescue team carted the woman out, but they left Faith’s splint on because they said they couldn’t do much better 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wow – that’s high praise!

          I’m impressed with the inflatable pad. I didn’t realize such a thing existed to carry in pack for emergencies. I thought I was doing well with a mylar blanket for both the top and bottom.

          Liked by 2 people

          • The pad is in case she has to spend the night outside. She usually hikes alone, but she likes to be prepared to take care of herself and she understands that being rescued the same day is never certain.

            Liked by 2 people

    • This energizer bunny is starting to feel her years 🙄

      However, I guess in the grand scheme of things, I have to be grateful that I’m still able to be out there making the effort, but I definitely don’t have the same zippitty-do-da that I once had.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That looks like a great trail! I love the blue markers to keep you on the right path (at least I assume that’s what they are for). So happy you and Misha followed your rule and lived to tell about it :).

    Btw, we have a (non-Russian) Misha on my husband’s side of the family too. I’ve always loved that name.


    • That is so cool! All the Misha’s we’ve encountered up to now were Russian or Eastern European. I love names that end in a vowel. If only my parent’s had thought to put an ‘a’ on the end of my name 🙄

      You’re right about the blue marker. It blazes the trail, which isn’t always obvious – especially in the winter when there is snow coverage.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nope. I would have chickened out and gone back to the car! You certainly are an intrepid explorer. Just stay safe out there, and I am not referring to the virus!


    • Staying safe is at the top of my to-do list every day.
      … although I admit my to-do list likely looks a lot different from yours! 😆

      I hope you are keeping well, Jude. It’s hard not to go a little squirrelly these days now that we’re back into lockdown and winter is setting in.


  5. Great to hear from you and to know you are still scampering about the rocks and trees with Misha. If I had attempted that trail, I would have turned back at that vertical section illustrated in the first image. I am a card-carrying wuss.

    I’ve invoked the rule up here, too, with emphasis on the no maiming clause – not for myself, but for the rockhounds who frequently are beyond cell phone range.


    • I like the image of ‘scampering’. It sounds so graceful compared to the lumbering reality 😆

      I admit that I uttered a few expletives at various times – especially on the descents. They are the scariest.

      I understand your concern about the rockhounds beyond cell range. I remember the days back when I was very young and my dad would go off fishing in the back country – and he would occasionally be many, many hours late in returning. One time in particular I clearly remember he didn’t return until midnight – covered in mud. Their vehicles had become stuck.

      When you’re miles and miles from nowhere, it can get dangerous quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you but I really miss the 2 cameras I lost last year. The new one I bought just frustrates me so much I end up tossing it back in my pack and using my phone – which I find clumsy and awkward.


  6. Haha, you certainly know how to attract audiences with a title. I’m glad you stick to this rule, it sounds like an important one. 😀 This looks likes an amazing adventure and all mama points to you for doing it with your son. I love his name, Misha, just wonderful. Keep rocking it.


  7. Done and dusted, with not even a scrape to prove it – thanks goodness for the photos! Your adventurous spirit is an example to us all, Joanne, and the envy of many – no matter their age.


  8. You are a great storyteller- I was there with you feeling your trepidation and anxiety. You must have felt so proud at the end though because I sure was,on your behalf…those photos managed to convey those climbs and descents in all their cold, slippery, potentially bone crushing glory!…and have I mentioned (not since your last post I’m sure) just how envious of you sharing this all with your son?


    • At the end of a hike I always have a curious mixture of pride, accomplishment, and relief that I survived another one 😉 I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of those ones too!

      It seems the more challenging the trek, the more likely I’ll be interested in doing it again … although with the incoming snow we’re expecting, I doubt this is a trail I’ll want to do again before the spring.

      And you’re right, hiking with my son is icing on the cake.

      Liked by 1 person

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