You might have noticed you’re not in the city!

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!

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “You might have noticed you’re not in the city!

  1. Oy vey,

    And the answer in their minds (I’m guessing) would be “but no one ever told us that!”

    Maybe now hiker safety courses (like hunter safety courses) need to be attended before being licensed to hike in the woods?

    • Yes, sad to say, I think it’s not a bad idea. (sigh) There’s the other part of me which thinks they should march themselves down to the nearest clinic and get various tubes tied. The sad thing was that all the campgrounds had a “Don’t get lost in the woods!” poster – with handy tips – on their entrance booths this year. Which was apparently ignored as well.

      As I said, I happen to know that trail very well. It’s not that long a trail – about half a mile, and there’s a state highway at the trail head. You’d think they’d have followed the sound of cars driving by – and the headlights. They really had to work at this.

  2. Alan Scott

    In the words of Ron White, ” You can’t fix stupid. “

    • And as Bill Engvalls would say to those experienced hikers, “Here’s your sign!”

    • I do happen to know all the forest rangers in this area, and that’s why I know what their reaction was to this. The senior one on that team is not noted for his willingness to “suffer fools gladly.” The general assumption when you’re searching for people is that they want to be found.