Cautionary tale: Geraldine Largay's Wrong Turn: Death on the Appalachian Trail
The Never Hike Alone warning found in most hiking books is not just a piece of CYA boilerplate required by publishers. It is good advice. I have violated it numerous times in unforgiving country in quest of my inner Thoreauvian, but then I am extremely cautious. But I don't go quite as far as Henry David's harsh, "I have no walks to throw away on company." It's a balancing act: the wilderness explorer seeks solitude but he also hopes to return to hike again. A competent partner will raise the probability of that.
The following disclaimer is my favorite, from local author, Ted Tenny, Goldfield Mountain Hikes, p. 4:
The risks of desert hiking include, but are not limited to: heatstroke, heat exhaustion, heat prostration, heat cramps, sunburn, dehydration, flash floods, drowning, freezing, hypothermia, getting lost, getting stranded after dark, falling, tripping, being stung, clawed or bitten by venomous or non-venomous creatures, being scratched or stuck by thorny plants, being struck by lightning, falling rocks, natural or artificial objects falling from the sky, or a comet colliding with the Earth.
Still up for a hike?
If you lose the trail, or have the least doubt that you are still on trail, stop. Do not plunge on. Retrace your steps to where the trail was clear and then proceed. Thus spoke the Sage of the Superstitions.