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By Katy Osborn
October 13, 2015
An hiker on the Franconia Ridge Trail in New Hampshire.
An hiker on the Franconia Ridge Trail in New Hampshire.
Kyle Sparks—Getty Images/Aurora Open

If you think of hiking as a fun, low-cost activity, here’s a tip: make sure you do your homework.

According to WMUR, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will be sending a bill to a family of four rescued from Percy Peaks Trail after an ill-planned hike landed them stuck in the dark over Columbus Day weekend. The Massachusetts family didn’t have a Hikesafe Card—a $35 card issued by the department that covers rescue costs for any outdoor activity, even if the cause of the need for rescue is negligence (New Hampshire hunting and fishing licenses provide the same coverage).

This isn’t the first such instance of hikers being billed by rescue officials. A Michigan man who had to be rescued from the White Mountains in 2012 after dislocating his replacement hip ended up with a $9,200 bill, upheld by the State Supreme Court after they learned of the man’s plan, following four hip surgeries, to take on a five-day hike to summits 5,000 ft. above sea level.

The takeaway here is pretty straightforward. If you’re thinking about an ambitious hike of your own, plan realistically and avoid being out after dark, in poor weather, and on trails that don’t match your level of skill or health.

And look into whether the state you’re in has programs like the Hikesafe Card. In the event that something—or someone—slips up, it could save you a whole lot of money.

Read Next: Man Sues for $5 Million After Pinecone Falls on His Head

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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