Survival skills

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
 A story out of Santa Cruz caught my eye today. For those not familiar, the Santa Cruz mountains are pretty rugged and home to many nice parks. Big Basin is my favorite but the forest of Nicene Marks is a  close second. Henry Cowell is another good one. There is a unit of the bigger Cowell park called Fall Creek. It is known for its rugged setting with trails that are pretty much “in nature.” Turns out a 59-yr old woman described as a “hiker and biker” got lost in there for 6 days. It’s been pretty cold lately and when she was found by a volunteer searcher, her feet were numb. Fine, “stuff” can happen to anybody. What caught my eye was the statement that she also got lost in October and had to spend a night in the woods. Hmmm, nothing learned? Although she said she slipped down into a ravine and could not get out, she stayed there 6 days and nights. Hoping she would be rescued. Her survival strategy: “conserve energy and wait for help.” Gee, the grim reaper might be the only one along.
    So my message – what about the “10 essentials” of hiking that we are all supposed to carry (thanks to the Boy Scouts)? 
First-Aid Kit
Extra Clothing
Rain Gear
Matches & Fire starter
Sun protection
Map & Compass
Even for a putsy nearby hike there is one thing I am never without-a whistle. And tell someone where you are going. If you have no one, leave a note on your car dash.

    In other news, Tom Leatherman has been appointed superintendent for Port Chicago Naval Magazine NM, Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front NHP, John Muir NHS, and Eugene O’Neill NHS. He replaces Martha Lee, who transferred to the post of deputy regional director for the NPS Pacific West Region. I met her at the John Muir April Birthday party in Martinez 2 years ago. Nice lady. These are 4 Bay area parks that I need to see. A good rainy day event!  Anyone been?

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.” – Abraham Lincoln
*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


6 Responses to “Survival skills”

  1. Randy Says:

    Good points. The original reports I read on this said she was injured and couldn’t get out, and that she was a “biathelete” who hiked regularly in the SC mountains. It was interesting to me because the usual agruments about experience and training did not apply. But the story keeps changing. The 10 essentials are always what we all go back to though. There seems to be a recurring theme about being off trail too.

  2. mrhalfdome Says:

    The story I read said she was a “hiker and biker.” Hmm I guess anyone who walks in the woods and rides a bike can be called that. So I’m not envisioning Brandi Chastain here. She said she was not injured but had little upper body strength to pull herself up. Not exactly an in-shape “bi-athlete.” But if you are in an unmarked/unmaintained trail, of course you may get lost. Most recent GPS units have a breadcrumb “back track” function. Plus she ragged on the “authorities” for not findingher sooner.

    Sitting passively “waiting for help” would have killed Aron Ralston. Fight to the end! Worst of all she got lost 2 months ago – duh! Read “Angels in the Wilderness” and you will appreciate the importance of carrying an emergency whistle.

    Some people will be safer if they go to the mall instead.

  3. Maureen Lahiff Says:

    I’ve been to the John Muir homestead site in Martinez. It’s a big change from the usual image of Muir.

    It seems his Scots Presbyterian background kicked in when he got married and became a father and he became obsessed with making oodles of money. He did use his botany interest to determine which types of fruit would do best on his father-in-laws land (pears, I think.) John Muir husbandry (in both senses of the word) and land stewardship. His wife Louie encouraged him back to wilderness and to write!

    Also, you can see where he did his writing and the nifty Muir inventions like indoor hot water.

    One of the nicest things about that little parksite is that they lead full moon hikes on nearby Mount Wanda, named for one of Muir’s daughters. It’s not really a mount, but the name got to stick for historic reasons. There are some cool things on the hike, and the moonrise over Mount Diablo is stunning. Reservations needed.

    You can look down on the Eugene O’Neill historic site from the ridges of Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in the East Bay Regional Parks.

  4. mrhalfdome Says:

    Great comments. It took me a long time to finally get up there…Nice place. I’ve not been to his cemetary. I’m sure most people have no clue that he lived there and is buried nearby.

  5. john Says:

    The most fundamental survival skills are internal. Knowledge, and the Will to survive.

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