Way back in May, I wrote a post about common sense when hiking. I was reminded of it this afternoon as I read through local weekly. One of the features is the “Ranger Report,” a sort of police blotter from the New York State Forest Rangers. There it was, this gem:
Forest Rangers searched throughout the night, covering most of the ground around Watch Hill while repeatedly calling the names of the hikers. At 8:30 AM, the rangers located the subjects in good condition.
They reported it had gotten dark as they were returning to the campground, and they did not have flashlights, so they lost the trail. When asked if they could hear forest rangers calling for them, they said they had but “growing up in the city you never holler back.”
Makes you cringe, doesn’t it? I happen to know that the night they were lost was a particularly cold one – it was down into the mid-20’s here. I also know the trail they got lost on. You have to wonder about people. They might have noticed that there’s a lot of trees, a lake, and no people around. It’s not a city or even a town. It’s wilderness. When it’s dark, cold, and you’re lost, it’s generally considered a good idea to answer when someone is calling your name. That’s “common sense,” which apparently was lacking. Although the report is pretty straightforward, I do know all the forest rangers in this area, and I’m pretty sure I know what their response to that was.
It ended well, which is the good thing. Yes, they spent a very uncomfortable night, and except for some missing pieces of their rear ends from the forest rangers chewing them out, they’re home safely. But this is why we tell “tourist stories,” or “you’re not going to believe this!” You can’t make this stuff up – really, you’d think they’d have noticed they weren’t in a city!