Letters to the Editor

Viewpoint: Be aware of hiking hazards

On April 4, you printed an article titled “13 spots to hike in San Luis Obispo.” After reading it, I said to my husband, “This sounds like fun. Let’s go on one of these trails and hike.”

His answer was, “Well, we could come upon a mountain lion, so unless we have a lot of people to go with us, I don’t think we should go.” So we didn’t.

Then the following day, on your front page was the article, “Pigs pose a problem for hikers and steelhead trout” (April 5). I read the entire article and I can’t thank you enough for warning people of the dangers of hiking on Johnson Ranch. That was exactly where I had wanted to go. I had no earthly idea there were wild pigs there and I’m sure others didn’t know that either.

Most people are aware they could encounter mountain lions, bears and snakes that might shy away from humans if they hear them coming, but wild pigs (especially if there are young in the area) are a very different matter.

The lady hiking in the park with her dogs may not know it, but she is lucky to be alive. Her dogs saved her life. The problem is, many people hike without dogs to protect them and if they had been in the same situation she was, they may not have survived.

Not too long ago, a rancher friend near Santa Maria was selling piglets to a man who was told not to stand between the mother “domestic” pig and her piglets. He ignored that warning and the mother pig attacked that grown man, flipping him in the air. When he landed on the ground, she began biting him all over in an attempt to kill him.

The only thing that saved his life was the quick thinking of another grown man climbing up on the fence and jumping on the pig’s head several times to get the pig to let go of the man.

It was a horrific, traumatizing, bloody scene.

The badly injured man was taken to the hospital and did survive, but it was only because another man came to his rescue. My concern is: if something like that happened to a person or two with no dog or protection at all with them, they might not survive.

Therefore, I feel it is important that signs be posted warning people about what they might encounter so they and/or any children with them won’t get hurt. Otherwise, there might be lawsuits.

Fran Zalesny lives in Morro Bay.