Because someone took exception to my calling people who get in trouble on the trail through their own negligence "stupid" and "idiots," the following reports of rescues from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office are prime examples of why I used those perfectly descriptive words. I'm going out of order, datewise, but felt these are apropos to my point and didn't want to save them any longer.
May 21, 2008: At 6:45 p.m., an AZDPS Ranger helicopter crew rescue a 22-year-old Chicago man from a ledge on a cliff face near Devil's Bridge west of Sedona. His vacationing family left him and headed for California when he didn't return to the trailhead parking lot in a timely manner. He had separated from his family because of "a strong desire to climb a rock formation," off the trail to Devil's Bridge. "When he started back down, he found the rock steep (he couldn't see this before??) and after sliding, and sometimes free falling, he ended up on the ledge with nowhere to go."
Hikers from Flagstaff heard his call for help and contacted Verde Search and Rescue. They could get to him only by air. Since he set out in the morning, he was sunburnt and dehydrated.
May 22, 2008: 2:30 a.m. Hasty Team of Verde Search & Rescue escort a 54-year-old North Carolina woman safely off Cathedral Mountain near Sedona. The woman had set out at 6:30 p.m. to photograph the sunset and told her fiancé she would be back before dark. She left her cell phone in her vehicle, and used the flash from her camera to try to signal help when she got lost. The flash batteries died before her rescue, but the search team hunted in the area other hikers had last seen the flashes, and found the woman. She had carried no water or warm clothing with her.
August 7, 2008: 7 p.m. Search & Rescue members finally locate a 44-year-old New York man who called them at noon saying he was lost somewhere near the top of Bear Mountain, again in Sedona. He was told to stay put, but instead wandered around trying to find his way down. Finally, because of approaching darkness, the team called out a helicopter to locate him. He was dehydrated. He told rescuers "he had heard there were 360 degree views from the top of the mountain and wanted to attain the height to obtain the view. He became disoriented and somewhat panicked after realizing he was lost."
Sorry, that's all I can stand for now.
A great email came in this month: "On April 16, 2011, the Arizona Search and Rescue Coordinators, on behalf of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management, presented the "Don Hornecker" Coordinator of the Year award to Deputy Roial Armstrong, and the "Al Schoenstene" Unit of the Year award to Verde Search and Rescue members. The awards ceremony took place during a statewide conference in Heber, Arizona."
More on this soon.
Posted: Monday, October 10, 2011
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Endless are such stories. I expect they will continue. I have seen a decline in interest when it comes to learning in general and in gaining wilderness skills in particular. I would get regular attendance in Mesa, AZ and the Parks and Rec Departments around Phoenix when I offered a class on Backpacking, Orienteering, or Survival in the '80's. But few sign up today. I come across hikers all the time who don't know what they are doing, where they are going, nor are they equipped for the unexpected. They seem to forget that mother nature is a rather unforgiving lady. I don't think there is an easy solution to this as it seems to be a broader cultural phenomenon.