Thirteen tourists were robbed of cash, cameras and other goodies on the Inca Trail in Peru. Something to think about — and investigate — before your next eco-tour or adventure hike: are the people there desperate enough to follow you up tortuous trails, hold you at gunpoint, steal your prized posessions and haul it all back down the hill?

Normally the case for backcountry security has nothing to do with cops, courts or other instruments of the law: your base protection is the likelihood that the criminals are too lazy to hike anywhere to steal anything, much less carry it back to civilization once they’ve stolen it. But say you were in a large group accompanied by low-paid load-bearers who are easily bribed — now the equation changes, because a small group of crooks can steal a large amout of stuff in one haul, making the venture far more profitable.

This is one of the reasons why I have no urge to hike the rest of the world’s trails until I’ve seen all the good ones in the good ol’ USA. Plus there’s the whole “how many trips to REI do I lose if I blow two grand visiting the Andes?” A man has to think of his gear jones.