Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Lost In the Gatineaus"


Lost in the Gatineaus is about three friends that go on an afternoon hiking trip and end up geting lost for 36 hours. One of the friends is designated as leader since the other two had never hiked the route they planned. As they were hiking they came to the end of any visible path or trail makers but instead of turning around they decided to cut through the woods. Instead of coming back the main trail as they anticipated they traveled through boggy land encountering a number of beaver ponds a thunderstorm and a couple of streams they waded across, until nightfall when they realized they needed to find shelter for the night. Earlier one of the women had managed to contact a family member with a cell phone but did not make their situation sound serious telling her “I'll call you when I'm on the road”. Around 11:30pm they received a call that one of the woman's father was out looking for them and the authorities had been contacted but it would be morning before they started a search. In the morning the woman got cell phone service and contacted her supervisor at work so that he could make sure they were being looked for. They waited were they were until 1pm when they got too impatient. They made their way through the bush and made their way to the ridge where they had lost the path. They managed to make another call to the police to tell them they were on the ridge. By the time the rescue party made it to them it was nightfall again and it was 11pm before they made it out of the park.
This story reinforces the dangers of hiking unprepared. Their first mistake was hiking a trail they were unfamiliar with without any kind of map. They also decided to leave the path and take a “shortcut”. It is clear that with better judgment that they would not have gotten lost. However I may have made the same mistake. The Gatineau hills are so close at with so much city around its hard to remember the dangers of leaving the trail. You forget how much forest there really is. It is important to be prepared for the worst no matter where you're going.

"Lost in the Gatineaus" Ottawa Outdoors 21 April 2010
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1 comment:

  1. “Lost in the Gatineau’s”
    Rating: *****

    I really enjoyed reading this article since the author told his story so thoroughly with much detail and excitement. I agree with Alex that the group of three made a terrible mistake by taking a route they had never gone on before, without a map, knowing cell phone service would be scarce. Their other mistake of taking a detour off the path which came to an end was also a brutal error but I too, like Alex, would most likely have made this decision after a long hike, in hopes that it would be the shorter route.

    What really impressed me about this story was that the three friends managed to stay strong and work through all the pain and exhaustion they were experiencing. Heather, who hurt her knee and was unable to bend it, seemed to show incredible perseverance in their situation and I know that if I was lost in a forest without any clue of what direction to head, without food or water, I would not be able to remain as calm as this group of friends did.

    I was also intrigued by the choices they had to make as a group. Knowing there was a rescue team looking for them, but unable to tell how long it may take. They had to decide whether or not to remain where they were, or to continue on in hopes of cell reception or an easier location spot. In any other situation it is known that it is much safer and smarter to stay where you are and let help find you, however, after restless hours of debate they chose to move forward. Luckily this judgment call may have saved them but I know I would have had a very hard time, hungry, tired, and hurt, choosing to continue to hike.

    This article emphasizes how important it is to plan ahead when going into the wilderness, it reminded me how vital it is to pack for the worst situation and always be prepared. What these three friends thought to be a 3 or 4 hour hike turned out to be a 36 hours fight to get home and they were very lucky to have been found. Also, it is an excellent article because at the bottom of the story it supplies an example of a simple survival kit to bring on all hikes as well as what to do when lost and how to survive.