No, I am not talking about that TV series that many are buzzing about.
I am referring to the mind boggling number of news stories about lost hikers recently. It gets better, lost hikers are RUNNING INTO EACH OTHER!!
I can’t comment on the experience of any of these hikers, but I am rather agitated when i hear these stories. This may be due to the fact I am very serious about taking the necessary preparations and precautions when entering the backcountry, and pride myself on my excellent sense of direction. I don’t always know where I am, but I am never lost and always make it from A to b… famous last words. While experienced prepared hikers do get lost, I find it hard to believe that when four different “LOST” parties unintentionally join forces that they all knew what they were getting into when they started out on the trail.
While technology can be very helpful if you do in fact NEED assistance to get back to civilization, relying too heavily on it can easily leave you disoriented if/when your signal or batteries die. Besides are we not in the woods in the first place to enjoy nature and escape the hustle and bustle of our daily lives? Sure make a phone call from a summit or your campsite, but if I start hearing digital sounds while hiking I am going to start bashing them on rocks (…and then pick up all the pieces and dispose of them at a proper location.)
Now it is entirely possible something did go wrong and these “LOST” hikers did need exterior assistance in finding themselves again, but I get the feeling these hikers were rather unprepared and uneducated on common sense used in the woods. Perhaps they were following their electronic navigating devises a little too literally ala Michael Scott
Fortunately all these “LOST” hikers were able to escape back to civilization unharmed, and will learn from their mistakes and be prepared next time they hit the trail. While our great nation has excellent search and rescue resources they are not free. We the tax payer, fund a majority of these missions.
Sidenote: The MAY issue of Backpacker Magazine has some articles regarding navigation and the psychology of a lost individual.