Lost in my backyard

House MountainTom Mangan took note of an article in my local paper describing how a couple of hikers lost in a park after dark used the flash on a camera to signal rescuers in a helicopter.

I read the story in the paper this morning, but until I saw Tom’s post I hadn’t planned to write about it. There’s something about it that bothers me.

It’s fine that Tom thought it’s an interesting story. It is. And Tom added a funny retort at the end of his post.

The thing is, I’ve hiked House Mountain a few times, where these hikers got lost. The place isn’t that big!

Yet it took Knox County Sheriff’s deputies and one of their helicopters, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers and a four-wheeled drive vehicle, and members of Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad to track down the couple.

And they were in cell phone contact with the couple.

Admittedly, the article describes one of the hikers as “mentally handicapped.” But what was the woman’s excuse?

Every time I read a story about someone using technology and the full resources of law enforcement to bail them out of some bad decision-making I have to wonder, why do people go out so unprepared?

Maybe it’s just the Boy Scout in me that makes me feel this way. You know, “Be prepared,” and all that. And I’m sure I’d feel differently if someone had been injured or if they were lost for days.

But in this case they hadn’t been lost a couple hours and the weather was only a little bit chilly, no rain.

Am I being hyper-critical? If I am, tell me, because I have a hard time with stories like this.

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3 Responses to Lost in my backyard

  1. cyberhobo says:

    Every year I SEE people heading out into the backcountry unprepared, and I’m always suprised how hard it is for me to muster up the gumption to TELL them where they’ve fallen dreadfully short. As often as not they’ve passed, and I’m mumbling to myself, “jeans, no gloves, relatively heavey snowfall, idiots…”. My resolution this year is to at least warn any cluesless folks I see that I’m concerned for their welfare for whatever reason.

  2. cyberhobo says:

    (Ok, that was typed way too quickly, but earnestly :))

  3. cutter says:

    I got what you meant. And I think you make a good point.

    Those of us who are experienced and know better can help a lot by (gently) warning the people we see who appear to be making unsafe decisions.

    It’s simply the right thing to do.

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