In Oregon, when you approach a trail head that is a well used and highly frequented trail, there are signs that alert you of types of plants and animals in the area. The signs remind you that you need to be prepared for the hike you are about to take. Typically there is a map of the trail with significant landmarks and vistas pointed out. These signs remind you to have the appropriate gear for the hike and in some cases ask that you register at the Kiosk. In every case they let you know where you are and gives you information that assist you in having a great hike and not a terrible experience. Oregon wants people to get out and enjoy this wonderful land we have, but it wants you to do it responsibly.
Yesterday a couple of ladies went for a winter stroll out in the Columbia Gorge and got lost or at least disoriented enough that they had to be “rescued”. The Gorge is a wonderful place to hike, but like most places, the Gorge takes on new or at least different challenges in the winter. Just getting there sometimes can be an adventure. So if you are going to hike in the Gorge (or anywhere) in the winter.. You had better BE PREPARED. These gals wandered off picking up the trail and heading up to Nesmith Point. The hike into Nesmith Point is challenging enough in the summer, but that is the hike they chose. Now, it is fair to say that according to the News wire press release, “Both hikers have Intermediate experience climbing school training and Mountaineering First Aid and were prepared for the elements.”
The release goes on in the next update to state “The hiker’s actions and being prepared for the elements greatly assisted in their smooth and safe rescue from Nesmith Point.” So all is well that ends well. But the initial report stated that “the husband of one of the hikers reported he received a call from his wife who told him they were at the top of Nesmith Point and had lost the trail at some point while they were hiking. Their footprints were covered with snow and they could not track their way back down or see the trail.”
I suppose the moral of the story is that it can and will happen to anyone. So BE PREPARED. I am making an assumption here that neither had a map or compass.. the reason I say that is because I have hiked that area and having a map and compass could have easily put them in the right direction and regardless of snow and not finding the trail, they could have made their way back. But I don’t want to beat up on them, I just want people to listen… I want our Scouts to listen and use these cases as an example of why we want them to be prepared. It is fortunate that these two ladies were somewhat prepared and had the right attitude to make it out (with the help of SAR).
Baden Powell tells us to Be Prepared for any old thing. When the signs remind and warn, take heed. When the skills, attitudes, and gear is right, then proceed. But always be prepared.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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