Hurricanes, Tropical Depressions, and Backpacker Injuries

The Cordillera Central Mountain skies over Jayuya, Puerto Rico

I’ve been contacted by several people who’ve expressed concerned about my walk across Puerto Rico due to recent announcements about Tropical Storm Dorian which is predicted to turn into a Category 1 hurricane by the time it reaches the island tomorrow.

The date of my walk across Puerto Rico is September 7-20, and it’s planned to coincide with the two year mark since the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria passing over the island in 2017. The group of artists that I am working with on this trip have deliberately decided not to use the word “anniversary” because it is not something we are celebrating or commemorating. We are choosing instead to phrase the storms as a “two year mark since the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.”

Trajectory of Tropical storm Dorian

September is peak hurricane season across the Caribbean as the warm ocean temperatures create suitable conditions for various weather disturbances including hurricanes. As I write this blog Tropical Storm Dorian is still predicted to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane as it passes through the Mona Passage, a strait that connects the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is an important shipping route between the Atlantic and the Panama Canal, between Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. It is then expected to move northward toward southern Florida over the weekend.

Unlike Ireland where I luckily didn’t encounter any rains during my walk there in April, I do expect to experience almost daily rain showers in Puerto Rico as much of my walk will be in the steep Cordillera Central Mountains with peaks rising up to 3,000 feet.

What am I doing to prepare myself?

Injuries Hikers Face

I am fundraising at to purchase rain gear and backpacker’s insurance to protect me against weather disturbances, accidents, and lost, damaged, or stolen equipment.

Slip and fall injuries are some of the most common injuries hikers face, and it’s the number one reason many hikers are forced to abandon the trail and their plans. My number one risk is vehicular traffic since all of my walks occur on public roadways where sidewalks are not available.

Backpacker insurance typically costs about $135.00 for a standard plan that includes Overseas Medical Expenses and Emergency Repatriation, Cancellation, Personal Accident Benefit, Travel Delay, and Personal Baggage.

To date I’ve only had one injury that required medical attention while hiking and I was blessed when a reporter who was interviewing me graciously offered to drive me to a medical clinic where I was examined, x-rayed and treated for a strained tendon in my left foot.

Things happen on the trail and it’s always best to be prepared.